Despite trailing by as much as 10, the No. 10 Oregon Ducks found a way to grind out a win on the road, defeating the Utah Utes 70-68. Damyean Dotson lifted Oregon to victory with a game-winning breakaway dunk in overtime with less than a second left on the clock as the Ducks remained undefeated to start the season with 13-0 record.
Richard Amardi led the scoring for the Ducks with 14 points while Dominic Artis added 12 points off the bench. Mike Moser led the way with 12 rebounds, making up for a poor offensive night as he shot just 1/8 from the field.
Jordan Loveridge led Utah with 21 points while Delon Wright added in 14 points. Dallin Bachynski had a good showing coming off the bench for the Utes with a double double, scoring 11 points with 12 rebounds.
Both teams struggled with shooting as the Ducks shot 38.7 percent from the field, while the Utes shot 38.1 percent. While Oregon’s 31.3 percent shooting from three-point range was nothing to write home about, the Utes shot just 15.8 percent from deep.
The Utes got out to a quick start thanks to poor inside shooting from the Ducks. In the first five minutes, Oregon shot just 1-11, missing numerous easy inside buckets. It took six minutes for the Ducks to score their next basket, a three-pointer from Elgin Cook.
Fortunately for Oregon, Utah cooled off, allowing them to get back within three after a basket from beyond the arc from Dominic Artis before the under-12 timeout. Both sides went cold out of the timeout. Between the two TV timeouts, the two sides made only one basket each.
Oregon pulled to within one out of the under-8 TV timeout before a three-pointer from Amardi tied things up at 24 each with 3:21 left in the half. Utah answered right back with an 8-2 run to jump back out to a six-point lead, and would go into the half with a 32-28 lead.
Considering how poorly the Ducks played overall in the first half with bad shooting and turnovers, Oregon was fortunate to be down by just four going into the break.
Utah began the second half with another hot start, building their lead back up to 8 in the first five minutes, matching their largest of the game to that point. A three-pointer from Dakari Tucker gave the Utes a 10-point lead with 13:44 to play.
Oregon was once again able to whittle away at Utah’s lead back down to three after a fast break and-one from Damyean Dotson. A 10-2 run from the Ducks after Tucker’s three-pointer tied things up at 47 each with 9:37 to play. Finally, a layup from Amardi two minutes later gave Oregon their first lead of the night since the first basket of the game.
After a pair of Utah free throws the crowd was brought to their feet as Utah tied things back up. A three-pointer from Mike Moser silenced them as the basket gave Oregon to lead back with just over five minutes to play.
The Ducks had the chance to reclaim the lead, but Jason Caleste missed a three with 1:30 to go as the ball bounced around a few times on the rim before Utah was able to come up with the rebound.
On the ensuing possession, Brandon Taylor drove to the rim, drawing the foul on the layup with 42.4 seconds to play. Taylor hit both free throws to give Utah a 62-60 lead. Dotson answered back for Oregon with two clutch free throws after drawing a foul on the layup to tie the game at 62 with 25 seconds to play. The Utes called a timeout with 7.4 seconds left to draw up one last play. The Ducks played great defense, but did allow Loveridge to get one good look. The shot fell off the mark though, sending the game into overtime.
The overtime period featured one of the more bizarre plays of the game. After two missed free throws by Cook, he found himself with the ball again, going up for the dunk. The ball seemed to go through, but somehow popped back out, keeping the game tied at 64. The play exemplified Oregon’s struggles in the paint throughout the night, constantly not being able to finish close to the rim with missed chances and blocked shots.
A layup by Dotson with just 35 seconds left tied the game at 68. Utah once again called a timeout in the final seconds to draw up another last-second play. What happened next? I just have one question for you.
Do you believe in miracles?
With just four seconds to play, Damyean Dotson came up with a turnover, and it was off to the races with only the clock to beat. Dotson threw down the game-winning dunk with less than one second left on the clock, lifting the Ducks to their third overtime win of the season.
Ok, it’s not an upset like USA beating the Soviet Union. But Oregon should not have won this game. Utah held a 10-point lead in the second half, but the Ducks never gave up, fighting their way back into things to put them in a position to win the game.
In the second half, the Ducks were able to get more baskets in the paint while cutting down on turnovers, something they struggled with in the first half, which allowed Utah to jump out to their lead. It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.
Next up for the Ducks will be No. 20 Colorado on Sunday afternoon. The Buffaloes are off to a 11-2 start, which included a buzzer-beater against Kansas earlier this year. The Ducks will look to avenge an embarrassing 76-53 last year to Colorado in the second-to-last game of the regular season.