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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Men’s hoops: Utes upset by Oregon 69-58 in Eugene

(Ryan Kang/Emerald)
(Ryan Kang/Emerald)

It was a storybook ending for the seniors in Eugene.

With a top-10 team in town, the seniors playing in their final home contest and fighting to stay among the top four teams in the Pac-12, Oregon had all the motivation it needed heading into its matchup with the Utes. Thanks to a balanced Oregon attack and 11 first-half turnovers from Utah, the Ducks (20-8, 10-5 Pac-12) pulled off the upset over Utah (21-5, 11-3) Sunday afternoon 69-58.


(Ryan Kang/Emerald)
(Ryan Kang/Emerald)

“We didn’t make the necessary plays to be an elite team,” Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said in a postgame interview with ESPN 700. “If you want to be special, you can’t have any slippage.”

Dillon Brooks led the way for the Ducks scoring 19 points, while senior Joseph Young chipped in 14 in his final game played inside the Matthew Knight Arena.

Brooks single-handedly put this game away when he scored 11 straight points for Oregon down the stretch, including an emphatic dunk with 2:53 remaining that got all the Duck faithful on their feet. This dunk, and a 7-for-8 shooting clip from the charity stripe in the final minute and a half, sealed the victory for the Ducks.

Leading the way for the Utes was Delon Wright with 20 points, including a 4-for-7 effort from behind the arc. Wright’s four three-pointers accounted for half of Utah’s triples, though, as the Utes shot 8-for-29 from deep, a percentage well below their season average.

After seeing little to no offense in Corvallis, the Runnin’ Utes got off to a much better start against the Ducks, as Poeltl got things going with two quick buckets to get the early lead. But thanks to his two quick fouls shortly after, Poeltl found himself on the bench to preserve the remaining fouls he had left.

“I thought Jakob’s first foul was crazy,” Krystkowiak said in the interview. “Referees need to understand what’s going on defensively, [Poeltl] didn’t take him out.”

Whether it was because of Poeltl’s absence or Utah just going cold, Oregon found itself as the aggressor for most of the opening half. With 5:33 remaining in the half, Duck leading scorer Joseph Young drove the lane and converted the layup giving the Ducks their first lead of the game 21-19. The lay-in also marked Young’s first bucket of the game.

With Poeltl on the bench, Krystkowiak called to his bench for seldom-used Jeremy Olsen.

In the first half, Olsen played 11 meaningful minutes, more than both Poeltl and backup center Dallin Bachynski combined, and registered five points on 2-for-2 shooting. Additionally, Olsen recorded a rebound and a block to add to one his more impressive first-half stat lines in his career at Utah.

Despite the surprising play from Olsen, the Runnin’ Utes were still struggling to stop Oregon from scoring. Duck guard Elgin Cook went on a personal 6-0 run to gives them a 30-22 lead with 1:31 remaining in the half.

The Utes were unable to gain their lead back by the time the halftime buzzer sounded, but they were able to pull within five points to head into the locker rooms, 32-27.

There wasn’t a lot of positive that came from that first half, but the most alarming statistic for Utah was the turnovers, and according to Wright, it was all on them.

“We turned it over way too much,” Wright said on the show. “I just think we didn’t focus right, just mental errors.”

Coming out of the break, the Utes kept Oregon honest by keeping the game close, but never surpassing their Duck counterparts. It was with seven minutes to go where Brooks went on his tear, but one of the biggest shots belonged to the Oregon senior Young.

After a Wright triple pulled Utah within four points and gave the Utes some momentum, Young wanted to end his home career at Oregon in style. After inbounding the ball and being left open in the corner, Young rose up and knocked down the shot from behind the arc to put the Ducks up 62-55, and the Utes could not recover.

Despite the loss, Krystkowiak believes there are some positives to be taken from this game, especially with an anticipated matchup with No. 7 Arizona looming on Saturday.

“You never wanna’ lose a game, but the corrections are some things that we’ve known for awhile,” Krystkowiak said in the interview following the loss. “We just need to try and keep playing better basketball. Fix what’s broken here, like we always do, and get back in the saddle and get after it tomorrow.”

The Utes will come back to Salt Lake for their next contest when they host Arizona State on Thursday.

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