Looking for the sixth straight win, the Ducks were back at home to take on the Utah Utes. Oregon was looking for the season sweep of the Utes as they had already pulled off the January win in Salt Lake City.
Oregon got off to a quick start thanks to a Chris Boucher and-one foul followed by a Casey Benson three to take a 6-2 lead. However after a quick Utah run capped by a Jordan Loveridge three the Utes took the lead at 7-6. A late 4-0 Oregon run gave the Ducks a 10-7 lead at the first timeout.
Oregon came out of the break ice-cold, allowing Utah to regain the lead thanks to Kyle Kuzma’s early eight points. With the Utes breaking out a 2-3 zone, Oregon failed to hit on five straight field goals. Reigning Pac-12 player of the week Dillon Brooks finally broke the drought with a long field goal. At the under-12 minute timeout the Ducks were down 17-14.
At the timeout, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak got charged with a technical after arguing Utes star Jakob Poeltl’s second foul. Thanks to the two technical shots and a tip in all from Brooks, Oregon reclaimed a lead. With Utah pressing the tempo a Dwayne Benjamin three was needed to reclaim the lead. With a sweet block by Jordan Bell leading to the outlet layup to Elgin Cook, the lead was pushed to three with 7:27 to play.
Jordan Bell was all over the place in the first half as he completed yet another impressive sequence. This time Bell finished at the rim with a dunk and responded on the other end with a rejection. After yet another Bell rejection leading to a transition finish by Cook, the Ducks held a 34-31 lead at the last timeout of the first half.
After a Chris Boucher three pointer rattled around an 11-4 Oregon run was capped to take the lead up to 41-35. After a Boucher swat to finish the half, the Ducks held onto their six point lead. Brooks led the way for Oregon with his 13 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds. Both teams had a hot shooting half as they entered halftime both shooting over 50%.
A Swatterboy three pointer got things off to a quick start for Oregon to start the second half. Utah got into foul trouble early to start the second with both Poeltl and Kuzma picking up their third fouls just two minutes in. After a beautiful dish from Brooks to Boucher the Ducks claimed their first double digit lead, 48-37 with 15:47 to play.
After yet another Bell finish at the rim the Ducks were in the midst of a 11-2 run for a 52-37 lead. After a string of missed shots on the Ducks end, Brooks finally finished off the possession with a put back layup with a foul in addition to extend the momentum. The dribble penetration continued to be a key for Oregon, as Brooks notched his eighth assist with another dish to Bell at the rim. With 11:48 left, the Ducks led 57-42.
With Poeltl back in the game, Utah went on a run to close the gap. With Oregon hitting one of seven field goals the lead was cut to single digits. The run was finally broken thanks to a corner three pointer from Tyler Dorsey, his first points of the game. At the under-eight minute timeout Oregon led 62-50.
Dillon Brooks came out of the timeout with quick baskets to keep the lead for the Ducks. However with Poeltl back in the game he did everything he could from keeping the game out of reach. With just 4:30 to play the lead was back down to nine after Oregon missed four of five field goals.
After trading buckets from Brooks and Kuzma, Oregon held a nine-point lead at the final media timeout with three minutes to play. With a Boucher tip-in out of the timeout the lead was back to double digits. With a beautiful spin move in the lane, Brooks racked up his 27th points of the night, which was good for a new career high. Brooks nailed a deep three on the final possession for 30 points on the night.
Takeaways of the afternoon.
Dillon Brooks. Earlier this year I questioned how good the Ducks could be without a true go-to man. Well it seems like that has been answered as Brooks has not only stepped up as that guy but also made Oregon into a serious contender. Brooks has been so impressive doing all the little things and his stat line tonight was a perfect example of the player he is.
Jordan Bell. We always get the expected from Bell, the dunks, blocks, and rebounds. But I’ve been especially impressive of late with Bell’s use of post moves to score around the rim. He’s done a great job developing moves to make himself a more dynamic player.
Oregon top performances:
Dillon Brooks. 30 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds.
Chris Boucher. 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
Jordan Bell. 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks.