SALT LAKE CITY — Utah wore throwback uniforms in Thursday’s game against Oregon. The theme carried over to the floor as well.
The Utes did a lot of throwing back to the Ducks in a 78-72 loss in the Huntsman Center. They gave up 29 points on 19 turnovers.
“You can’t beat anybody if you give up 29 points off of your turnovers,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. “That’s the reality.”
The loss snapped a four-game win streak by the Utes, who fell to 11-9 overall and 5-3 in Pac-12 play. Oregon improved to 13-8 and 4-4.
Krystkowiak noted that he underlined two things on the board before the game. He cited being poised against the pressure and rebounding the basketball.
“I said if we can do those two things I believe we can win,” Krystkowiak said. “And unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
Utah outrebounded Oregon 35-32, but had serious problems against the pressure defense the Ducks employ. They entered the contest forcing 16.9 turnovers per game against Pac-12 foes.
Oregon’s full-court press erased a double-digit Utah lead and ultimately helped the Ducks put together a 28-point swing.
“It stings,” Krystkowiak said. “But that’s the Cliffs Notes of the ballgame in my mind.”
Utah got off to a good start. Donnie Tillman hit three 3-point shots and Riley Battin added one in a 14-2 run that gave the Utes a 26-12 advantage with 9:38 to play in the first half. They held a similar margin, at 30-16, following a basket by Jayce Johnson just over three minutes later.
Then came a drought. Utah didn’t make another field goal in the 6:42 that remained. Oregon, meanwhile, rallied to take a 38-34 halftime lead.
The Ducks climbed back into contention by reeling off 11 straight points, fueling what wound up being a 22-4 outburst to close out the half. Utah’s lone points in the momentum swing came on free throws by Barefield. The last two came with 2:21 to go. Oregon answered with another 11-0 run, powered in part by four Utah turnovers to pull in front. Freshman guard Will Richardson led all scorers with 15 points for the Ducks. He was 6 of 7 from the field.
After giving up a score early in the second half, Utah’s dry spell finally came to an end. A 3-pointer by Parker Van Dyke gave the Utes their first field goal in a span of 8:38 over the first and second halves.
Oregon eventually built a 67-53 lead in the second half and weathered a mini-rally by Utah late in the game. The Utes, however, drew no closer than five points down the stretch.
“They did a really good job in the press. They were really active — long, athletic. You know, something that’s kind of hard to simulate in practice,” said Utah guard Sedric Barefield. “We worked on it. We just didn’t take care of the ball, we had some bad decisions.”
The 29 points Oregon scored off turnovers, Barefield added, was “the game right there.”29 comments on this story
Richardson finished with a game-high 19 points for the Ducks. Barefield and Tillman each had 16 for the Utes. Timmy Allen chipped in 13.
Miscues weren’t the only thing that troubled Utah in its 14th loss in 16 games against Oregon since joining the Pac-12. The Utes made just 13 of their 23 free throws. They were also outscored 38-26 in the paint.
Utah returns to action Saturday afternoon (3 p.m., P12N) at home against Oregon State. The Beavers (13-7, 5-3) defeated Colorado 76-74 in Boulder Thursday night.