All season long, it appeared that the Oregon Ducks were bound to follow up a nice win with a tough loss. They beat Utah, and then turned around and lost to Arizona State at home. They upset No. 9 Arizona and then lost to Stanford a week later.
So following a nice win over Colorado on Thursday night, what was in store for Saturday night's game against the Utah Utes?
Fortunately for Duck fans who still have hopes of watching this team play in the NCAA Tournament, Oregon turned in yet another impressive victory, sweeping the season series over Utah, the No. 2 team in the Pac-12.
It was not an impressive night for Utah, however, who shot 28% from the floor and lost the rebounding battle 41-32 to Oregon.
In the end, the good version of the Ducks showed up and was able to get an important win at home, keeping their hopes for a late winter run into tournament play. Here's how everything went down.
Final Score: Oregon 68, Utah 56
Keys to the Game
Nate Bittle had another strong start to the game on Saturday, making his presence felt with a block and a couple of rebounds early on defense, while also knocking down a 3-pointer and getting an and-one layup at the other end. Bittle was one of the lone bright spots for Oregon though, which once again struggled to knock down outside shots. Fortunately for Dana Altman's squad, the Utes were out of sorts offensively as well.
It was a brutal offensive start for Utah, which was just 4-for-19 (1-for-6 3FG) in the first 14 minutes of the game. At one point, Utah went over 10 minutes of game time without making a field goal.
Utah got a few shots to fall as the half came to a close, and a three-pointer with 13 seconds left cut it to a 33-25 lead for Oregon. At the other end, though, Will Richardson was able to knock down a long ball to give the Ducks a 36-25 lead at the break.
It was Jermaine Couisnard who led the way for the Ducks early in the second half, knocking down a couple of deep shots. Oregon was able to maintain a 10-point lead for the first 8 minutes of the half or so.
A few really impressive minutes from Lök Wur off of the bench gave the Ducks a boost, and they carried that momentum into the 6-minute mark with a 6-0 run that extended the lead to 16 and forced a Utah timeout.
While the Utes made a nice push late in the game, cutting the lead to 8 with 1:33 left in the game, it was too late, with Oregon holding on for a 68-56 victory at home.
Players of the Game
Jermaine Couisnard: 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
Will Richardson: 12 points, 7 assists
N'Faly Dante: 9 points, 10 rebounds
Nate Bittle: 9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks
Quincy Guerrier: 9 points, 5 rebounds
Key Stats to Know
Utah went without any points for a stretch of 10:01 in the first half, and they shot just 27% from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
Oregon led the rebounding battle 21-17 in the first half, and won the glass overall, 41-32.
Lök Wur had the highest +/- of the game, with a plus-17 despite scoring zero points. He had 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in 12 minutes.
The Ducks held Utah to just 28% shooting in the entire game.
Oregon dominated in the paint, outscoring Utah 32-14.
Up next, the Ducks get back on the road with a trip down to the desert to take on the Arizona schools. That trip starts with a matchup against the Arizona State Sun Devils on Thursday night. The last time these two teams met, Oregon lost by 17 points at home.
Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire