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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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Basketball: Young’s last-second shot sinks Utes out of Pac-12 tourney


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As the saying goes, big players make big plays in big moments, and Oregon’s Joseph Young certainly did that on Friday night against Utah in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament.

After being fouled away from the hoop, Utah’s Delon Wright drained two free throws to tie the game up at 64 all with seven seconds left on the clock, but that’s all that Young needed.


Following the free throws, the Ducks inbounded the ball to Young, who dribbled the length of the court before pulling up with 1.1 seconds left from 35-feet out. The play was not what Oregon head coach Dana Altman wanted to run, but Altman said that Young “overrode him” in the timeout, taking matters into his own hands — it worked out.

The Pac-12 Player of the Year came through in the clutch, proving his award was deserved by draining the shot over the outstretched arm of Jakob Poeltl and sending Oregon to the championship game in dramatic fashion by downing the Utes, 67-64.

Brandon Taylor, who led Utah with a season-high 24 points on blistering 9-for-15 shooting performance, was beside himself following the loss, despite having one of his best games of the season.

“[My performance] is overshadowed by the outcome,” he said. “I may have had 24 points, but I had some crucial turnovers in the first half. I just gotta find a way to really take care of the ball and just be better for my team.”

Helping Taylor along the way was Delon Wright, who stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists, but outside of Wright and Taylor, no other Ute could find rhythm offensively.

The loss knocks the Runnin’ Utes out of the Pac-12 Tournament, ruining the chance to get some revenge against an Arizona team that had beaten them twice this season. While the loss will take a few days to get over according to Poeltl, the Utes will regroup on Selection Sunday at their head coach’s house to find out where they will be playing in the NCAA Tournament.

Out of the gate, both teams were chucking, and making, shots from all over the floor. In just over five minutes of play, Utah and Oregon combined for 27 points as the Utes had the slight lead over the Ducks, 14-13.

One player who was especially hot from the field was Taylor, who scored nine of Utah’s 14 points in that stretch. By the time the buzzer sounded for halftime, the point guard had 16 points thanks to a 4-for-5 effort from deep.

Those hot hands for both squads cooled down, however, as both Oregon and Utah each registered 17 points the remaining 14:26 of the half.

The Utes shot 55 percent in the first half compared to Oregon’s 37.9, but yet the Ducks found themselves only down a single point, 31-30 at the half. This can be attributed to the 11 turnovers that Utah gave up, as Oregon turned those into nine points. Additionally, the Ducks put up nine more shots that the Utes, providing more opportunities to score despite shooting a worse percentage.

“That game in my opinion was probably lost in the first half with all of the turnovers,” Krystkowiak said.

But coming out of the locker rooms to start the second half, Young took matters into his own hands, going on a personal seven-point run, including a made three-pointer shot a few feet behind the arc to give Oregon the lead early in the second half.

Fast forward to 1:29 left in the game, and things weren’t looking good for Utah. The Utes were down four points and fresh off of two missed three-pointers to make it a one-point game.

But then, thanks to some friendly calls from the officials (who weren’t kind to the Utes all night), both Dakarai Tucker and Wright found themselves on the charity stripe with the game on the line. Tucker and Wright sank all of their free throw, tying the game up at 64-64 before Young’s last-second heroics.

“At this point, I am just overwhelmed,” Taylor said. “That was a hell of a shot.”

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