Utah Basketball Hoping To End Road Trip With Win Over Oregon
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah men’s basketball team is hoping to shake off their disappointing loss to the Beavers and turn around quickly to face Oregon on Saturday.
The problem is that Oregon has had the number of Utah in basketball since joining the Pac-12. Oregon has an 18-2 record against Utah since becoming basketball conference foes, including Pac-12 tournament games. In Eugene, the Utes are just 1-6 with their lone win coming in December of 2017.
The game against Oregon doesn’t come at a great time as the Utes are coming off of a disappointing loss to Oregon State on Thursday night, 74-56 as they committed 20 turnovers.
Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak spoke to the media after the loss to the Beavers and explained the turnover issue.
“It was a lot of sloppy play,” Krystkowiak stated. “There was a period of time that the correlation is so strong in this game when we actually executed, which we did very little. We did coming out of the second half. You’re only going to be as strong as your weakest link as an offensive and defensive unit. Offensively, it seemed like we had one person that wasn’t involved with our execution, and then you kind of make things up. And at times, we look like a deer in the headlights. We had a lot of ball watchers and you’re at the point of the season right now where we’re all trying to get to the finish line. I thought we had a scared look on our face and life is gonna be hard. We had a couple guys step up, but beyond that, it was definitely ineffective.”
The Ducks are 13-4 overall on the year and 8-3 in Pac-12 play. They have won four straight games and are coming off of a four-point win against Colorado on Thursday.
Eugene Omoruyi (17.5) and Chris Duarte (17.3) are Oregon’s leading scorers this season. They have five players that average double figures. Along with Omoruyi and Duarte, Will Richardson (11.8), Eric Williams Jr. (11.3) and LJ Figueroa (10.4) average 10 points or more this season.
This is the second meeting of the season between the Utes and Ducks. The first meeting took place on Saturday, January 9 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Oregon picked up a 79-73 win. Utah had a 43-33 halftime lead before the Ducks outscored the Utes 46-30 in the second half.
Timmy Allen led Utah with 23 points. Mikael Jantunen had a career-high 20 points, along with 7 rebounds. Pelle Larsson added 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Jantunen won’t be available for Saturday’s game as he is currently traveling back to the United States after playing for the Finnish National Team at the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifier.
In the January meeting, Chris Duarte led all scorers with 25 points. Eric Williams Jr. chipped in 19 points.
Utah Needs To Clean Up ‘Self Inflicted’ Mistakes Heading Into Oregon Game
It’s been an up and down season for this Runnin’ Utes basketball team. Things were looking bad when they lost four straight before beating Stanford. Then they suffered a disappointing loss to Cal at home back in the middle of January. Utah then picked up an impressive road win against Washington State before losing to Washington three days later.
The upward trajectory took place when they had a pair of quality wins over Colorado and Arizona before going to Cal and picking up a one-point win. Stanford snapped their three-game winning streak and then the really disappointing loss to Oregon State happened. That’s when Larry Krystkowiak mentioned that a lot of the issues with his program is self inflicted.
“I’ve never had a problem and I’ve told you guys this before, I never had a problem with a team beating us,” Krystkowiak said. “But I really feel like a lot of this is self inflicted right now and we’re doing a pretty good job of beating ourselves and that can’t happen.”
Tip-off on Saturday, February 20 between Utah and Oregon will be at 7 p.m. MST and will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.