Oregon has caused havoc for the Utes for years, with Utah only having 1 win over the Ducks since joining the league in 2011, and that was in 2013. Among all of those losses were a lot of 20, 30, even 50 point losses to Oregon, so to beat them up in Eugene is a bit of a breakthrough moment. Don’t get me wrong, Utah has shown they belong, it’s just the mental hurdle of winning in Eugene is now in the rear view mirror. Prior to the win tonight, Utah had lost seven in a row to the Ducks in Eugene, last winning there in December of 1951.
It didn’t look pretty early on for the Utes in this trip, as they fell down 21-8 after a series of Oregon threes to get some separation. Utah also went through their typical offensive draught, where they couldn’t buy a bucket for almost 4 minutes. Sedric Barefield, who played probably his best game of the season with 16 points, helped Utah cut the lead to single digits with some threes of his own, and got the lid off of the basket. David Collette also played really well in the game, with 11 points and 7 rebounds, helped Utah keep Oregon within arms reach by being down 8 at halftime.
In the 2nd half, it was the Justin Bibbins show, who had 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 5-of-8 from three point range. He came out firing and giving the Utes an lead in the early parts of the 2nd half, and he kept holding off any order run as Utah steadily built a lead late in the game. He showed no fear, where so many Utah players have shown fear in the past. Collette also was big on the boards in the last part of the 2nd half, picking up some big offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive for the Utes. Tyler Rawson shouldn’t be overlooked either, he was good in all facets of the game tonight with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. He has turned himself into a stat stuffer, and has been one of the most reliable Utes.
Utah really won the game on by taking care of the ball, with just three turnovers, and on the defensive side of the ball, I mean, they held the Ducks to 56 points at home. Utah held Payton Pritchard, UO’s leading scorer with almost 16 points per game, to just 7 points on 2-of-10 shooting, including 0-of-5 from three. Utah held Oregon to 8-of-21 from the field in the 2nd half, and 4-of-14 from deep.
It was a great road win for the Utes to get Pac-12 play started, and hopefully something that will give the Utes some momentum going forward into the league.