The Utah Runnin’ Utes (14-6, 5-3 Pac-12) fell on Thursday to the No. 10 Oregon Ducks (19-2, 8-0 Pac-12) 73-67. Oregon was buoyed by the return of preseason All-American forward Dillon Brooks. While Brooks played well, scoring 19 points to lead all scorers, in his return after missing one game with an ankle injury, he may be remembered more in this game for possibly the worst flop of all time.
Brooks was not the only Oregon forward to score double-digits on Utah. Forwards Jordan Bell (15) and Chris Boucher (10) also scored at least 10 points for the Ducks. Boucher recorded three of Oregon’s six blocks on the night. Guard Dylan Ennis also scored in double figures with 13 points for the Ducks.
Oregon is a tough matchup for Utah due to their athleticism and shot blocking ability. Utah trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, but they rallied to trail only 70-66 with 1:40 left. They just made a few too many mistakes to pull off the upset.
"If you're playing the No. 10 team in the country, you have to play better and guys have to rise to the occasion ... they're a heck of a defensive team but you can't miss layups," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said.
Oregon is a stellar defensive team. Despite out-rebounding the Ducks 33-28 and shooting nearly 50%, Utah could not top the 70-point mark, something only UCLA has done against the Ducks in Pac-12 play. Utah was led by junior forward Kyle Kuzma’s 18 points and nine rebounds. Junior forward David Collette returned to the Utah lineup after missing the Washington road trip due to lingering concussion symptoms. He score 10 points in limited minutes.
Poor officiating was rampant in this game. Despite many calls going against the Runnin’ Utes, they had chances to win but could not convert easy baskets at times and went on scoring droughts.
This was Utah’s final matchup against an AP Top 25 team in the regular season and likely Utah’s best chance to make a push for an NCAA Tournament bid. Utah will now need to finish strong and make a deep Pac-12 Tournament run to make up for their weak nonconference schedule.
The Runnin’ Utes will look to get back to winning ways when they host the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday at the Huntsman Center. Next week they will travel to the Bay Area schools.