Oregon trounces Utah, 79-61, for 41st consecutive home win
Back on Jan. 26 when No. 7 Oregon traveled to Salt Lake City to face Utah, the Ducks needed late free throws to put away the Utes and secure the win.
When the two teams met again Thursday night in Eugene, it was an entirely different story.
Led by Dillon Brooks’ 20 points, Oregon started hot and never took its foot off the gas pedal en route to an easy 79-61 victory. With the win, the Ducks improved to 23-4 overall and 12-2 in conference play, one game behind No. 6 Arizona.
“Defense again got us out and into transition,” guard Payton Pritchard said. “Our team is a great defensive team and when we pick it up in the beginning it gets everything else going.”
Head coach Dana Altman was pleased with his team after the win.
“I thought defensively our activity was pretty good for the most part,” Altman said. “We did hold them to 38 percent. … All-in-all it was a good win.”
Tyler Dorsey, who had 16 points, got the scoring started when he hit a 3-pointer to continue his hot-shooting of late. From there, a balanced attack helped Oregon surge as three other Ducks scored within the first 3:15 of the game for an 11-6 lead.
The Ducks continued to pile it on as Dorsey scored Oregon’s next seven points for the 18-8 lead, a lead it would never relinquish.
“He (Dorsey) got most of those (points) in the flow as guys were looking for him,” Altman said. “He started off 4-for-4 and had a hot hand.”
Oregon went on to shoot 58.1 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc in the first half for a 41-25 lead at the half.
“We had some inside-outside movement, hit some 3s and had some pretty good looks,” Altman said. “But again, our defense got some things going a little bit there with our activity and some blocked shots. It was a pretty good half for us.”
The second half was a big-play clinic for the Ducks as Brooks, Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher all provided season highlights.
Bell and Boucher, Oregon’s twin towers down low, had back-to-back blocks that prevented Utah layups. Bell finished the game with five blocks while Boucher had three.
“Me and Chris weren’t blocking shots at first so we really just tried to pick up the defense in the second half,” Bell said.
Brooks added to his poster collection when he threw down a hard dunk over Utah’s 6-foot-10 center David Collette. Bell thought Brooks’ jam against UCLA still stands as the best of the year.
“If (some of) my dunks would have counted then it might be different,” Brooks joked.
Bell added 17 points and seven rebounds while Pritchard finished with nine points, seven assists and six rebounds.
“It’s difficult for teams to play us because they don’t know who to (focus on),” Pritchard said. “You don’t know who’s going to go off each game so they can’t really game plan against one player — just make things easier.”
Oregon seeks revenge on Saturday when the Ducks host Colorado at 12 p.m. at Matthew Knight Arena.
Follow Ryan Kostecka on Twitter @Ryan_Kostecka