Eugene, OR – The best player on the floor at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday night was the smallest. 5-8 senior point guard Justin Bibbins connected on all four of his second-half three-point attempts as he scored a game-high 19 points to lead Utah to a 66-56 come-from-behind win over host Oregon. The Utes overcame a 13-point first half deficit and a eight-point halftime deficit. Utah outscored Oregon 43-25 in the second half to come away with the win in front of 9,661 disappointed fans.
Bibbins scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half on 6-of-7 shooting. He also penetrated pretty much at will, easily getting past Oregon point guard Payton Pritchard. Though he only had two assists his penetration helped Utah get open shots and scoring opportunities. His backcourt mate Sedrick Barefield added 16 points while David Collette (11 points, seven rebounds) and Tyler Rawson (10 points, nine rebounds, seven assists) both 6-10, controlled the paint against the smaller Ducks.
For the second straight game Oregon played the game without 6-9 starter Paul White. White averages over 11 points per game and his ability to step out for mid-range shots was missed. 6-9 freshman Kenny Wooten started at center, played 27 minutes, and although he blocked five shots, he did not take any shots from the field and did not score. Wooten’s minutes were limited by foul trouble and he eventually fouled out, but his zero field goal attempts was indicative of Utah’s dominance in the paint, were they had a 22-14 scoring advantage.
6-7 MiKyle McIntosh (14points) played his second straight strong game hitting 5-of-6 from the field (3-of-4 3s) but also fouled out in battling Utah’s bigs and their penetration. 6-7 freshman Troy Brown Jr. led Oregon with 16 points and added a team-high six rebounds. Pritchard had an off night shooting (2-of-10) and missed all five of his three-point attempts.
Both teams shot evenly. They both made 10-of-27 three-point attempts and each shot 41 percent from the field overall. However in the second half the Utes connected on 56 percent of their shots (5-of-11 3s) compared to 38 percent for Oregon (4-of-14 3s). The primary statistical difference was in turnovers, with Oregon committing 11 and Utah only three.
Oregon came out of the gates strongly eventually taking a 21-8 lead helped by three 3-pointers from McIntosh. That was the high point for the Ducks. From then their ball movement was inefficient, they couldn’t get out in transition and without any inside scoring, relied on three-point attempts or shots was weren’t the best looks. From that point until nine minutes remained in the game Utah outscored Oregon 43-24.
Oregon (10-4) will look to get back into the win column when they face Colorado at home on Sunday evening. Utah heads up to Corvallis to play Oregon State on Sunday afternoon as both teams try to start conference play with a 2-0 record.
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