Oregon survives late surge from Utah to win 80-77
Will Richardson hit five triples for a game-high 25 points and Oregon held off a last-gasp surge from Utah to win its ninth straight game against the Utes.
Up 12 at halftime and then up 14 with 5:26 to play in the game, Oregon had to hang on to win 80-77. An 18-5 run brought the Utes within just one point of the Ducks with less than 30 seconds to play after a pair of free throws from Utah guard Marco Anthony.
On the Ducks’ next possession, Quincy Guerrier was able to get himself to the free throw line and knocked down two clutch freebies with 13 seconds left to back up three.
A pair of Rollie Worster free throws pulled the Utes to 78-77 with 7.6 seconds remaining, and then UO’s Eric Williams Jr. heaved the ensuing inbound pass beyond midcourt to Jacob Young, who caught the ball in stride and laid it up and in with 4.5 left. Utah’s Eli Ballstaedt missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer and the Ducks were finally able to exhale.
Oregon opened the first half shooting 49% from the field and holding the Utes to 39%. Richardson poured in 15 of his 25 in the first 20 minutes, fueling a barrage of triples from the Ducks. Oregon hit 7-of-11 from 3-point range, with Richardson supplying three of those makes.
Against a Utah team that has been punching above its weight class in recent weeks—the Utes are 1-11 in their last 12, but four of the last six have come by five points or less—perhaps Oregon expected to cruise in the second half.
The shooting slipped. The turnovers crept up at the worst time. The Utes found a little more life from the field.
Utah closed the game on a 20-9 run while the Ducks had four turnovers in the final five minutes.
But Oregon came out with the win and that’s what matters at the end of the day. The Ducks moved to 8-3 in conference play with the win, 15-7 overall on the season. They’re only 1.5 games back of the Arizona Wildcats for the top spot in the Pac-12 and have won nine of their last 10.
Oregon hosts Stanford next, with tip-off set for next Thursday at 6 p.m. PT.
The Utes, who saw Gabe Madsen go for 19 points Saturday, will have a week off to try and recoup. They’ll open a three-game road trip next Saturday, Feb. 12, in Boulder against Colorado. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. PT.