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Oregon Ducks Basketball Vs. Utah Utes Game Recap

A strong second half from EJ Singler and Damyean Dotson lifts the Ducks over Utah Saturday Night

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

A fiery half time speech from Senior Arsalan Kazemi inspired the Ducks in the second half as they overcame an 8 point deficit to come away victorious against the Utah Utes and snap a 3 game losing streak. The Ducks scored 51 points in the second half and out rebounded Utah 41-19 as the Ducks found their touch from the field to win by a final score of 73-64. On that half time speech, Damyean Dotson said, "He was screaming, ‘This is our team. We can't let the coach get mad at us. We've got to step up as leaders. Don't talk about it, just do it." When pressed for further comment Dotson stated that he had not seen that side of Kazemi before. "At half time he let his team mates know it was important to him," said Coach Dana Altman. "I thought the second half, he was unbelievable." The Utah defense used a variety of zone looks and switched it up against the Ducks which seemed to confound the offense early. Dotson said, "I think teams like to zone us, because they think we're going to turn it over, they think we can't shoot but we're a good shooting team." Jason Washburn lead the Utes with 20 points in a losing effort.

The Ducks looked unprepared and unwilling to move the ball offensively in the first half as the physical front line of the Utes pushed them around and held the front line duo of Arsalan Kazemi and Tony Woods to a combined 6 points. No Duck scored more than 4 in the first stanza. Utah conversely had two players in double figures. Jordan Loveridge lead all scorers with 14 in the first and Jason Washburn chipped in another 10. The Ducks did out rebound Utah by a measure of 22-6 and for the most part it was instrumental in the Ducks deficit only being 8 points at 30-22 at the break. The Utes were able to find open shots and hit them, shooting 57% while the Ducks continued their shooting woes going just 8-26 (30.8%). Also plaguing the Ducks in the first half was a rash of offensive fouls. They committed 5 in the first half and left the Ducks without their starting lineup for much of the half.

Oregon, though would sort things out in the second half as they opened the first four minutes with an 11-2 run. Utah though would respond keeping the Ducks at arms-length through the first 10 minutes of the half. Oregon would continue to press forward, lead by 18 from EJ Singler and 14 from Damyean Dotson in the second. Dotson came out shooting and stated after the game "It wasn't me thinking I had to take over, it was me knowing I had to take over...I just had to step up in the second half because I haven't been doing that lately." With 10:48 remaining EJ Singler connected on a jump shot to tie the game and Oregon would not look back. They lead the rest of the way, leading by as many as 11 and finishing with free throws in the last four minutes to give the Ducks a win 73-64.

Two statistics which stood out in this game seem to go hand in hand. Oregon won the rebounding battle by more than 2 to 1 and had as many offensive rebounds as Utah had total rebounds. The Ducks also had 24 second chance points. The effort on the boards really made the difference for the Ducks as the Utes shot nearly 50% from the field. In the second half, Oregon turned the ball over only 6 times, which is a stark contrast to the way they haven't taken care of the ball in their previous 3 losses. Oregon must now go on the road to face off against the Washington schools and Dominick Artis' status is still questionable. According to Coach Altman, he will go in to see the Doctor on Monday and see if he will be able to play against the Huskies and the Cougars. Altman said he won't be thrown into action all at once, trying to work him back into the lineup.