Ducks Tough Out Another Win
EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon demonstrated its toughness for the third time in eight days Saturday, beating Utah 67-64 in Matthew Knight Arena for the Ducks' fifth straight win, the last three of which have been by a combined nine points.
After Utah hit a game-tying three-pointer with 1:36 left in the second half, Chris Duarte put the Ducks back in front with a free throw. The Utes turned it over on their final two possessions, and Duarte added two more free throws to keep the Ducks in the mix with USC and UCLA as Pac-12 teams with just three losses so far this season.
"Found a way to win," UO coach Dana Altman said. "At this time of year, that's sometimes all you can do."
How It Happened: The game was tightly contested throughout, with neither team leading by more than three in the first half, and neither leading by more than five in the second. The Utes took their biggest lead of the game by opening the second half with two free throws, which put the Ducks (14-4, 9-3 Pac-12) into a 37-33 hole.
Oregon responded to that deficit with an 11-2 run, going up 38-37 on a three-pointer by Will Richardson and extending the advantage to 44-39 on a putback by Eugene Omoruyi. A three-pointer by Duarte put the Ducks back up by five at 50-45, and Jalen Terry made it 52-47 with a midrange jumper. But from that point on, neither team led by more than three.
Utah scored on back-to-back possessions to make it a one-point game before Terry scored with his left hand to make it 54-51. After Richardson got to the rim for a 56-53 lead, Utah tied it before Eric Williams Jr. scored in the post for a 58-56 advantage. Utah scored five straight — all from the free-throw line — to go up 61-58 before Duarte tied it with a three-pointer and LJ Figueroa followed with another for a 64-61 lead. Utah would tie it at the other end, but the Ducks made plays at both ends to seal it.
"We have a lot of experience, a lot of seniors, a lot of leadership," Figueroa said. "(But) we give teams confidence by going bucket for bucket. We need to focus on defense and getting stops so we don't put ourselves in that position."
Figueroa had a hot hand from the start, scoring Oregon's first five points. Utah scored six straight to go up 13-7, before Omoruyi made it a one-point game with a three-pointer followed by a dunk. A hook shot by Figueroa gave the Ducks a 30-29 lead, and Richardson scored with his left hand to put Oregon up 32-31. But the Utes scored last and led 35-33 at halftime.
Who Stood Out: Duarte and Figueroa scored 15 points each, and Omoruyi added 13 points with six rebounds and three assists. Richardson scored nine and Williams Jr. had seven points with five rebounds.
What It Means: The victory guaranteed a winning season by the Ducks for the 11th year in a row, a program record. This also will be the 24th straight winning season for teams coached by Altman, a distinction he shares only with four Hall of Famers: Jim Boeheim, Mike Krzyzewski, Bill Self and Tom Izzo.
Notable: Williams Jr. returned from a two-game absence that was attributed to a knee injury. … Omoruyi fouled out for the second time this weekend. … Omoruyi has scored in double figures in all but one game this season.
Up Next: The Ducks will play at USC on Monday (6 p.m., FS1), a rescheduled date for a game that was postponed earlier this season.