Eugene, OR – Oregon was able to hold on to defeat Utah 67-64 at Matthew Knight Arena on Saturday night. Chris Duarte and LJ Figueroa led the Ducks with 15 points each. Alfonso Plummer led the Utes with 17 points, making 4-of-8 three -pointers. The win was Oregon’s fifth straight as they get ready to play four road games.
The first half was close throughout with Utah taking a 35-33 lead into halftime on a driving layup from their 6-5 freshmen guard from Sweden, Pelle Larsson. The Ducks got a lift from Eric Williams Jr. who returned to action after missing four of the last five games, first due to COVID protocols, then because of a sore knee. Williams Jr. hit a three-pointer from the wing to give the Ducks a 26-25 lead, then scored on a fast break layup to tie the game at 28. Plummer hit 3-of-6 three-pointers to score nine first half points. Larsson also scored nine. Eugene Omoruyi led Oregon with 11 points, connecting on two three-pointers. Duarte (4 points, 4 turnovers) spent the final seven minutes on the bench after committing his second personal foul. Both teams shot well with Utah hitting 50 percent of their shots while the Ducks connected on 57 percent. Utah shot 4-of-11 on 3s and Oregon shot 4-of-12.
Oregon came out strong at the start of the second half scoring 11 of the first 15 points to take a five-point lead. After Utah closed the deficit to one, three-pointers from Duarte and Figueroa brought the lead back to five at 50-45. The game was close throughout the half with the Utes cutting Oregon’s lead to one point several times. They tied the game at 56 with 4:06 left after Timmy Allen (15 points) made one of two free throws. After a Willliams Jr. (7 points) basket, Omoruyi fouled out contesting a Plummer three-point shot. Omoruyi finished with 13 points and a team-leading six rebounds. Plummer made all three foul shots to give the Utes a one-point lead. After the Utes got up by three points, Duarte nailed a three from the corner to tie the game at 61. A three from Figueroa gave Oregon a three-point lead but Plummer came right back with a three to tie the game at 64 with 1:34 left. Duarte hit one of two free throws to give the Ducks a one-point lead. After a Plummer turnover, Figueroa missed the front end of a one-and-one. Oregon’s defense then forced Allen into a turnover and Duarte connected on two free throws for a three-point lead. Allen missed a heave from half court at the buzzer that would have sent the game to overtime.
Both teams shot about the same with Utah at 45 percent and Oregon at 48 percent. The Ducks had an edge in three-pointers going 9-of-23 (39 percent) vs. Utah’s 5-of-18 (28 percent). Most other stats were dead even with each team grabbing 28 rebounds, dishing out 12 assists and each had 28 points in the paint. Utah committed 14 turnovers against 11 for Oregon. Oregon held Utah to one three-pointer and forced nine second half turnovers.
Utah has some nice pieces to build around with Larsson and 7-0 sophomore center Branden Carlson. Larsson, built like a linebacker at 215 pounds, finished with 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, and added seven rebounds and five assists in 37 minutes. Carlson had to leave the floor after a hard fall on the game’s first play. He returned to play 30 minutes and finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Larsson showed a solid all-around game, is tough on defense and will only get better. Carlson showed some athleticism with good touch and moves around the basket and from mid-range. He’ll really help out if he can consistently hit shots from mid-and-three point range.
Oregon (14-4, 9-3) will travel to Los Angeles to play USC in a make-up game on Monday night while Utah (9-10, 6-9) will return home to face UCLA on Thursday night.