In a game that featured one of the biggest momentum swings of the season, Ducks' freshman guard Will Richardson led the way in scoring. Behind a solid first-half performance and a career-high 19 points from Richardson, Oregon (13-8, 4-4 Pac-12) rallied from 14 down to beat Utah (11-9, 5-3 Pac-12) on the road.
The Ducks snapped Utah's four-game win streak in large part to its defense. The Utes shoot 38 percent from the field, the best in the Pac-12, but Oregon picked on their weakness: turnovers. They average 14 per game, and the Ducks forced 19 which led to 29 points.
The Utes outplayed the Ducks in the paint and from the 3-point line to start the game. Donnie Tillman hit three consecutive 3-pointers off the bench, one of which put Utah up 23-12 midway through the first half.
Down as much as 14, the Ducks flipped a switch midway through the first half. They went on an 11-0 run, capped by a Richardson layup, closing the gap to 30-25 at the four-minute mark. Despite shooting struggles (7-of-24 excluding Richardson), the Ducks took control to finish the half, ending on 20-4 run and getting the first lead of the game up 38-34 just before the intermission.
Turnovers and the offense of Paul White (14 points) and Emab Amin (13 points) kept the Utes at bay for most of the second half.
But even down by 13 points, Utah did not go away. Parker Van Dyke made a layup cut the deficit to seven with three minutes to go. Sedrick Barefield (16 points) hit a 3-pointer over Richardson with 20 seconds remaining to cut the lead 76-72. After Payton Pritchard made two free throws, Barefield raced down the court with 14 seconds on the clock, attempted another 3, he was blocked from behind by Richardson.
Oregon will have the opportunity to reach a winning record in conference play when it takes on Colorado in Boulder on Saturday.
Follow August Howell on Twitter @howell_august