The suddenly struggling Oregon Ducks will try to stop the bleeding on Saturday when the Utah Utes come to Matthew Knight Arena for a Pac-12 Conference conflict.
In the first venture on its trip to the Beaver State, the Utes were routed, 82-64, by Oregon State on Wednesday. The loss was the third in the last four outings for Utah. The Utes are now 10-12 overall and just 2-8 in their second season as members of the Pac-12. That conference record has the Utes tied with Oregon State and Washington State for last place in the league standings. Utah has just a pair of wins in eight road tests this season, but will return home to face Arizona State next.
The normally high-scoring Ducks had their wings clipped on Thursday in a 48-47 loss to Colorado. The setback snapped a 20-game winning streak and was the first this season for 19th-ranked Oregon at Matthew Knight Arena. The Ducks have really fallen off of late with losses in their last three contests after opening the season 18-2. Oregon is still in the Pac-12 title conversation at 7-3 in league action. Up next Oregon heads to the Evergreen State for dates against Washington and Washington State.
Oregon swept the season series last year when these teams met as league foes for the first time. It was the third win in the last four matchups overall for the Ducks, who lead the all-time series, 9-8.
Despite a career-high 21 points from Brandon Taylor and 20 points from Jarred DuBois, Utah was still thumped by Oregon State. The Utes got just 23 points from the rest of the team, while shooting 35.7 percent as a unit. The Utes were dominated inside, being outscored 32-14 in the paint, while being outrebounded, 41-33.
The offensive struggles for the Utes have been well documented this season. Utah is scoring just 65 points per game which is the second worst mark in the league. The Utes do shoot just a shade under 45 percent from the field and hold teams to 38.4 percent shooting. DuBois (12.1 ppg) is one of three members of the team scoring in double figures. However, DuBois has scored in double figures in only four of the team's 10 Pac-12 bouts. Jordan Loveridge (11.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg) returned from injury against Oregon State but didn't look in sync as he scored just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting. Jason Washburn (10.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg) hasn't had as many opportunities to score, but finishes an impressive 56.4 percent of his attempts from the field.
Andre Roberson's tip-in with 23 seconds remaining ended Oregon's dominance at Matthew Knight Arena. Oregon had a chance to win in the final moments but E.J. Singler's last-second attempt was blocked by Spencer Dinwiddie. The Ducks shot just 36.2 percent from the floor in the contest and hit just 3-of-15 shots from beyond the arc.
Normally Oregon has been an above average offensive team that enjoys a scoring margin of more than 10 points per game. The Ducks are netting 72.9 points a contest and shooting a solid 45.6 percent from the field. Oregon then holds teams to just 62.7 points on 40.4 percent shooting. Dominic Artis' (10.2 ppg, 3.8 apg) absence over the last few games, as he deals with a foot injury, can't be ignored. Damyean Dotson (11.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg) hasn't been the same without his backcourt running mate as he has failed to score in double figures in each of the four games since Artis' injury. Singler (10.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.1 apg) and Tony Woods (10.5 ppg) are also strong performers, while Arsalan Kazemi (8.7 ppg, 9.4 rpg) is fourth in the conference in rebounding.