Oregon 66, Utah 56
How Oregon lost: Oregon did not have its Ducks in a row coming out of halftime. An eight-point lead quickly disappeared due to low energy on the defensive end and Utah finding its offensive groove. The Utes outscored Oregon 43-25 in the second half while getting hot from three-point range, going 5-for-11 (45.5%). Oregon (10-4, 0-1 Pac-12) was outhustled, outworked, and in the end, dropped its PAC-12 home-opener. 66-56 to Utah (9-3, 1-0 Pac-12).
"Obviously very disappointed, we got outworked," Oregon coach Dana Altman said. "The second-chance points they beat us on, points off turnovers they beat us on, those are two key stats. So very disappointed in how we performed."
What it means: Maybe it is youth or it's inexperience? But the Ducks have some growing up to do on both sides of the ball. In the closing minutes, Oregon struggled to find a good shot while the offense appeared to be out of rhythm. The Ducks also failed to grab clutch rebounds and routinely gave up second-chance points. With PAC-12 play now underway, Oregon got a taste of what conference play feels like. With California and Stanford being the only teams in the Pac-12 with losing records (both at 6-7), this is shaping up to be an interesting, tough conference.
Freshman forward Kenny Wooten, who some compare to former Ducks forward and Golden State Warrior Jordan Bell, has shown glimpses of Bell-like athleticism and talent especially as a rim protector. Wooten has blocked 20 shots over Oregon's last four games. However, Wooten has also seen foul trouble lately and there is a noticable difference in the team's when he is not on the court. As seen tonight, Wooten finished the game with five blocks, but picked up all of his five fouls in the second half. Oregon can not solely rely on Wooten to protect the rim.
"We've depended on Kenny [Wooten] too much to protect the basket," said Altman. "But that's just four senior starters for their team that were much more determined than our team. Again, I just go back to point off turnovers and second-chance points, and I always looks at those as indicators of who's determined and who's getting things done with their activity. And we obviously didn't get things done in those two areas."
High flying Ducks: Three Ducks scored in double-figures tonight: freshman forward Troy Brown finished with 16 points off 6-for-11 from the field, redshirt senior Mikyle McIntosh had 14 points off 3-of-4 on three-point shots, and redshirt senior Elijah Brown scored 12 points while leading the team with five assists.
Foul play: Wooten fouled out with :47 seconds left to play. All of Wooten's fouls came in the second half. McIntosh would also foul out of the game with 2:09 to go in the game.
Up next: The Ducks remain at home to host the Colorado Buffaloes (8-5, 0-1 Pac-12) at 7 PM, Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena.