No. 19 Oregon beats Utah 73-64 to snap 3-game skidBy ANNE M. PETERSON, AP Sports Writer Saturday, Feb 9, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. (AP)—Oregon forward Arsalan Kazemi had seen enough.
Trailing 30-22 to Utah at the half, Kazemi made an impassioned locker-room plea: The Ducks’ three-game losing streak needed to end right there.
Kazemi’s speech resonated with his teammates, and No. 19 Oregon took charge midway through the second half to beat the Utes 73-64 on Saturday.
“I realized that was the time,” said Kazemi, a senior transfer who finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds for his sixth double-double with the Ducks. “We needed someone to stand up.”
E.J. Singler had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Ducks, (19-5, 8-3 Pac-12), who had been on a slide after opening conference play with seven straight victories and climbing as high as No. 10 in the rankings.
Freshman Damyean Dotson, who added 16 points for Oregon, said he’d never seen Kazemi so animated as he was at halftime.
`”He said, `We’ve got to go out there and show it. We can’t just talk about it,”’ Dotson said.
The Ducks pulled in front midway through the second and extended its lead to 53-45 on Carlos Emory’s tip-in with 6:32 left. The Ducks scored 51 second-half points and led by as many as 13 points down the stretch.
Jason Washburn had 20 points and seven rebounds for the Utes (10-13, 2-9), who lost their second straight after a victory over Colorado, which upset Oregon 48-47 on Thursday night. The Buffaloes scored the final eight points to snap Oregon’s 20-game winning streak at home.
“We finally hit some shots,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said about the turnaround. “Dot(son) got on a roll there, E.J. hit a couple, and although we didn’t shoot a very good percentage, it was god to see the ball go through the net a little bit.”
The Ducks were without freshman point guard Dominic Artis for the fifth straight game because of a left foot injury. He averages 10.2 points and a team-leading 3.8 assists for the Ducks, and his steadying influence has been missed.
Both teams got off to rather slow starts. Oregon went up 13-10 on Kazemi’s dunk with 8:59 left in the first half. Utah went ahead 19-18 on Jordan Loveridge’s jumper.
Oregon’s recent struggle with turnovers continued and the Ducks committed 10 within the first 16 minutes. Oregon went into the game with an average of 16 turnovers per game, most in the Pac-12. They finished with 17 against the Utes.
The Utes extended their lead to 27-20 on Brandon Taylor’s jumper with 1:46 left, and Washburn’s 3-pointer at the buzzer put Utah ahead 30-22 at the break.
“We were feeling real great at halftime, but we knew we had to come out in the second half with the same intensity,” said Utah guard Brandon Taylor. “They picked up the pressure (in the second half) and started to gain some momentum, getting some key offensive rebounds and going to the foul line.”
Oregon pulled to 32-31 on Singler’s 3-pointer early in the half, but Utah wouldn’t let the Ducks take control yet. Brandon Taylor hit a 3-pointer to put the Utes up 37-31.
Johnathan Loyd, a 5-foot-8 junior starting in place of Artis, made a 3-pointer that narrowed it to 43-41 with 11:26 left but then took an elbow to the face from the 6-foot-10 Washburn. Loyd went to the bench for treatment but later returned.
The momentum shifted to Oregon and Singler’s layup tied it at 43 before Oregon went ahead on Kazemi’s free throw.
“We turned the ball over mindlessly a couple of times and then they heated up and got on one of those runs we were trying to avoid and the game got away from us a little bit,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said.
The Ducks climbed to No. 10 in the AP poll after winning all but two of their non-conference games and opening Pac-12 play with seven straight wins. It was Oregon’s best league start in 87 years, and their highest ranking since late 2007.
But last week, Oregon lost to Stanford and California. The return home to Matthew Knight Arena was supposed to bring the Ducks some relief, but the Buffaloes hung tough for their first victory in Eugene since 1955.
The losing streak dropped the Ducks out of first place in the Pac-12. Oregon is in a tangle for second behind No. 7 Arizona.
The win evened the series between Oregon and Utah at 9-9, although the Utes have not won since 2008. Utah, which is languishing at the bottom of the league standings, hosts the Arizona schools next weekend.