Not a real surprising result on Sunday night, as the Utes fell to Oregon 80-62 in Eugene, completing the road sweep, and the season sweep by the Ducks. Rylan Jones led the Utes with 18 points on 4-of-8 shooting from deep while Branden Carlson and Timmy Allen added 10 points apiece. Allen also had six assists on the night while Carlson had seven boards. Before the game I wanted to see Jones be the aggressor and lead the Utes, which I’m happy to see. The rest of the squad just doesn’t have enough offensive firepower to keep up with a team like Oregon, who blistered the nets from three point range on Sunday.
Oregon hit 10 threes in the first half, and really that was all she wrote. Utes was getting torched all game on defense, as they allowed Oregon to shoot almost 58% from the field for the game, even when the Ducks cooled down from three in the second half. Oregon was able to build a 14 point half time lead. When a team scores 30 points on you from beyond the arc in a half, you’re going to be in quite a hole, and that was the case for the Utes. A short 6-2 run by the Utes near the end of the half got it within 42-30, and perhaps some momentum for the Utes, but a last second shot from Pritchard saw Utah head into the locker room trailing 44-30.
To credit this young team, they do battle and generally play hard. The Utes were able to pull to within single digits behind some good offense, the Utes shot 7-of-11 early on in the second half, while Oregon cooled from three point range. A quick 8-1 run allowed Oregon to build a 18 point lead at 63-48, and there was no way Utah was going to have enough to dig out of that hole. Utah’s patented drought kicked in after Mikael Jantunen’s bucket with 11:38 left in the game. The Utes didn’t see another field goal until Jones hit a three with 3:41 left in the game.
Now the Utes come back home against the LA schools, with UCLA coming in on Thursday. These are a couple of games that Utah can win, since they play so much better in the Huntsman. The hope is the team doesn’t lose confidence as the season winds down.
Coach K after the game:
“I thought we were ready to go. It was a seven point game there about eight minutes left in the first half. It was a nice little flow. We were playing hard enough and then boom, three straight threes and it went from 7 to 16 just like that. Somethings we got a fix but that’s an elite team that hasn’t lost a game at home so we’re going to just keep fighting and I am proud of how hard we played. I thought second-half defensively was as good of a half as we played even though we had some breakdowns, but I am pretty proud of our effort.”