Runnin’ Utes Furious Comeback Comes Up Just Shy Against Oregon


Jack Gambassi

Utah men’s basketball’s Gabe Madsen (#55) in the matchup against the UCLA Bruins at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Editor


The University of Utah men’s basketball team’s comeback bid came up just shy on Saturday night against the Oregon Ducks. Utah trailed by as many as 15, but eventually ended up with a chance to tie it at the buzzer. They showed good fight all night long against a very good team, but lost another very close game, which has been the story multiple times this season.

Gabe Madsen started the game on fire, hitting three of his four three-point attempts to score Utah’s first nine points of the night. 

Following Madsen’s outburst, Utah had a really tough time putting the ball in the basket. Oregon is a great defensive team with a lot of size and length, and they forced the Utes into some bad shots, resulting in a 13-point deficit with six minutes to go in the first half. Utah went into halftime down 43-31.

Former Ute Tom Chambers had his #42 retired with a special ceremony at halftime. Chambers played at Utah from 1977-1981, followed by 16 seasons in the NBA.

Branden Carlson threw down a dunk and then hit a three to bring the Utes within six points of Oregon after a slow start to the second half. Both teams had trouble finding consistent offense within the first few minutes, but Utah kept themselves in the game with a solid defensive effort and timely baskets on offense. 

They fought for the rest of the second half, with some great effort by players up and down the roster. They forced the Ducks into a lot of tough jumpers, which Oregon’s Will Richardson was happy to knock down. He went 5-7 from three on the night.

Madsen had some late heroics to cut the deficit to five with a pair of threes in the final minutes. Rollie Worster stole a pass in the backcourt and put in a layup to cut it to three. After being down fifteen points, the Utes suddenly found themselves in this game.

The last few minutes were a lot of free throws and fouling. Utah cut the lead to just one point, Oregon pushed it back to three. Ultimately, Eli Ballstaedt had a chance to tie it at the buzzer but the shot was wide right. Utah came up just shy of a miracle, falling to Oregon 80-77.

“I thought we played very well in the second half. On the defensive end we made it really ugly,” said head coach Craig Smith. “A lot of great things. It’s kinda how it goes sometimes. … Had some great efforts from a lot of guys. … I’m really, really, tremendously proud of our effort and our team.”

Utah has a week off before they face Colorado on the road next Saturday. The long losing streak is over, and they’ve been playing good basketball recently despite not getting in the win column tonight. There’s still a month left in the season, and they’re determined to keep focused until the end.


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