EUGENE, Ore.- Utah Valley University traded first half runs with Oregon but couldn’t overcome a second half spurt from the 17th-ranked Ducks, falling 69-54 on Tuesday at Matthew Knight Arena.
Down 20-4 early, the Wolverines (2-2) got a big push to get within four by halftime, 29-25. Mitch Bruneel scored five of his 11 first-half points during a 12-4 run to close the game’s first 20 minutes. Bruneel and Hayes Garrity, playing in his home state, led UVU with 15 points each.
“Give them (Oregon) credit for scattering us. Their pressure was terrific,” head coach Dick Hunsaker said. “They clamped down defensively and disrupted our offense. I do think these games are something we can pull something from as the season progresses.”
Garrity scored back-to-back buckets early in the second half, the latter getting Utah Valley within three, 34-31, but a 19-2 run gave Oregon control the rest of the way.
Joseph Young, who averaged 30.0 points over the first two games, led all scorers with 20. Jonathan Loyd added 12 for the Ducks, while Mike Moser scored eight points and had a game-high nine rebounds.
In addition to Bruneel and Garrity’s double-figure nights, Zach Nelson added 11 points, while Brenden Evans hauled in eight rebounds and Holton Hunsaker finished with six assists and five rebounds.
“Anytime you play a team that’s nationally ranked and are able to fight back and be competitive I think that is a positive,” Hunsaker said. “We’re going to continue to fight and play and improve in certain facets of the game."
Oregon was the second straight ranked opponent for Utah Valley after last week’s contest at No. 7 Oklahoma State.
Utah Valley continues its swing of five straight road games on Saturday in Malibu, Calif., at Pepperdine. That game tips off at 5 p.m. CT, and it can be heard on 960 AM the Zone.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.