Second Half Struggles Sink Ducks in Pac-12 Opener

The Utah Utes out scored the Oregon Ducks 43-25 in the second half on their way to a 66-56 decision in the Pac-12 conference opener Friday evening at Matthew Knight Arena.

After opening a 31-23 lead in the first half, Oregon’s shooting touch went cold as the Ducks could connect on only 8 for 21 (38.1%) in the second stanza. Taking advantage of a lackluster defensive effort by the Ducks, Utah sank 14 of 25 after the break, giving Oregon its first home conference loss in 25 games.

Troy Brown’s 16 points led the Ducks. Mikyle McIntosh added 14 and Elijah Brown chipped in with 12 with the three combining for 42 of Oregon’s 56 points.

Eleven Oregon turnovers led to 16 Utah points and the Utes outscored the Ducks 22-14 in the paint, two stats that Oregon head coach Dana Altman pointed to in his post game remarks.

“That’s four senior starters for their team that were much more determined than our team,” he said. “I go back to points off turnovers and second-chance points, I always look at those as indicators of who’s more determined and has good activity.”

“We couldn’t get any stops (in the second half) and offensively I’m not sure what we were trying to run. That’s on me. The ball just didn’t move and guys didn’t execute. I was really surprised we didn’t do a better job.”

Defensively, Oregon was able to force only three turnovers and didn’t register a steal. Oregon did hold a slim advantage on the glass 33-30 with Brown’s six rebounds leading the Ducks.

The loss drops Oregon’s season mark to 10-4 overall and 0-1 in conference play. Utah improved to 9-3, 1-0.

Next up the Ducks host Colorado on Sunday, December 31st beginning at 7:00 pm.

~ Rick Morgan
www.DuckNews.com

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