Utah Basketball Hoping To Overcome Shooting Slump Against No. 17 Oregon
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah men’s basketball is hoping to get their offense going when they host No. 17 Oregon at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Before Utah basketball will play Oregon, it will have been one week since their last game. The Utes lost their last two games, getting swept in Southern California, while Oregon lost their last game.
The Runnin’ Utes shot the basketball well in their loss to UCLA but was ice cold offensively in the second half against USC. Utah made just 4 of their 30 field goal attempts in the second half and just 17-of-61 shooting throughout the entire game.
Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, the Runnin’ Utes have struggled against the Ducks with a record of 2-17, including the Pac-12 Tournament. They have lost 5 straight and 14 of their last 15 to the Ducks. In those 19 games, Utah is 1-6 at home, 1-6 in Eugene and 0-5 in the Pac-12 Tournament against Oregon.
The two teams will clash on Saturday, January 9.
Utah will play four games in the next week beginning with Oregon on Saturday, followed by Colorado on Monday, January 11, Stanford on Thursday, January 14 and California on Saturday, January 16.
The Oregon game was moved from Sunday to Saturday, which allowed Utah to schedule Colorado on Monday. They also pushed the Stanford game from Wednesday to Thursday.
“I want to play our guys want to play,” head coach Larry Krystkowiak told the media on Friday afternoon. “I think in college basketball, and specifically the Pac-12 right now, what you’re seeing is a variety of games postponed and cancelled. Basketball, you get into a lot of moving parts with multiple days of the week. Some competitive advantages, disadvantages. I mean, you look at Oregon on this particular trip, they’re turning around in 48 hours and having to play us. Then we turn around less than 48 hours later and play Colorado who will have four days off. Four games in a week for us is a little bit like an NBA schedule, it’s also a little bit like a four game bubble and we get to host it.”
The Ducks are off to an 8-2 start, including a 3-1 record in Pac-12 play. Their season opener against Eastern Washington was postponed. They lost to Missouri in Omaha, Nebraska in their first game of the year before winning their 8 games. Oregon’s last game was a loss to Colorado in Boulder.
Dana Altman’s team has wins over Seton Hall, Eastern Washington, Florida A&M, Washington, San Francisco, Portland, California and Stanford.
Rutgers transfer Eugene Omoruyi is the Ducks leading scorer, averaging 18.6 points per game, along with 4.8 rebounds. Chris Duarte is recording averages of 17.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest. Eric Williams Jr. is averaging 11.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest.
Utah Struggling Against Oregon
In games at the Huntsman Center since joining the Pac-12, Utah has lost by a combined 446-398, by an average margin of victory of 8 points per game in the six losses. Their only win at home was on March 9, 2013 with a 72-62 victory.
At Matthew Knight Arena, it’s a different story. In the six losses in Eugene, the Utes have lost by a combined 471-359, by an average margin of victory of 18.6 per game. Utah’s only win at Oregon since joining the Pac-12 was on December 29, 2017, with a 66-56 victory.
In the Pac-12 Tournament, Utah hasn’t been able to beat Oregon in their five meetings. The Ducks have outscored the Utes 353-286 in five Pac-12 Tournament meetings and averaged 13.4 margin of victory per game.
“I think the consistent theme is there’s been some of those games our inability to handle pressure and some of the athleticism, what the typical Oregon team possesses,” Krystkowiak stated. So each each games got a different story. I think part of it is the Dana (Altman) has done a pretty good job. They’ve had top 20 teams and talk is cheap. When those games arrived, we didn’t make enough plays. I’m not into streaks. The fact that Oregon has never won in Colorado, I think that one’s probably hard for Dana to swallow, but it doesn’t mean he has a bad team.”
Tip-off between Utah and Oregon will be at 7:30 p.m. MST on the Pac-12 Networks.