Washburn leads Utah past No. 19 Oregon 72-62
Posted at: 03/09/2013 7:39 PM
(AP) SALT LAKE CITY - The Pac-12 regular season title was in reach, but Oregon stumbled and staggered to the finish line.
Jason Washburn had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Jarred DuBois added 15 points and several key baskets down the stretch to propel Utah to a 72-62 win over the No. 19 Ducks on Saturday.
"We didn’t perform when the pressure was on," Johnathan Loyd said. "When the championship was on the line, we didn’t compete the way we usually do."
UCLA beat Washington 61-54 to claim the Pac-12 regular-season crown, while Oregon (23-8, 12-6) settled for a second-place tie. The Ducks are not a lock for the NCAA tournament without a strong showing as a No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas next week.
"I don’t want to be defined by those last couple games, because we are better than that," said Oregon coach Dana Altman, whose players seemed distracted, committing careless turnovers and often forgetting to press after made baskets while the coaches jumped up and down in exasperation.
The quartet of Oregon seniors _ E.J. Singler, Tony Woods, Arsalan Kazemi and Carlos Emory _ were too heartbroken to address the media after the game.
"They are so sad," Loyd said. "We also wanted this win to send the seniors off right and get them a ring. E.J. has been here for four years and some terrible seasons."
Singler led Oregon with 21 points but the Ducks’ collective weariness was manifest in Singler’s three second-half misses from the foul line. Tony Woods added 13 but the game was essentially decided in the opening minutes.
"They really took it at us that first half . and we never recovered," Altman said. "We didn’t play with the energy, the purpose, the focus that we needed. In a game like this, every possession counts and we didn’t get to the ball quick enough."
Jarred DuBois had 15 points, including several key baskets down the stretch, while Jordan Loveridge and Brandon Taylor chipped in 14 points apiece for the Utes (13-17, 5-13). Utah won consecutive Pac-12 games for the first time since joining the league and beat a ranked Pac-12 opponent in league play for the first time.
"This is the first time we’ve won back-to-back games in the Pac-12. We took down a giant. We took down a top 25 team and it couldn’t have been done in any more of a spectacular fashion," Washburn said.
The Ducks trailed from start to finish and often made things easy for Utah, which dominated inside. The Utes held a 31-28 edge on the boards and a 34-21 advantage on points in the paint. They also forced the Ducks to commit 15 turnovers and scored 21 points off those miscues.
Utah got off to a blistering start and kept it up throughout the first half. The Utes shot 65.5 percent from the field and pressured Oregon’s backcourt into turnovers. Utah forced the Ducks to cough it up nine times before halftime _ eight times on steals.
Cedric Martin turned one steal by DuBois into a fast-break layup that capped a game-opening 9-0 run for the Utes. After the Ducks cut the lead back to three, Loveridge stole the ball and helped set up a jumper by Washburn that gave Utah a 15-10 lead.
Oregon stayed within striking distance by heating up on the perimeter. The Ducks made their first three 3-pointers. The last one from Dominic Artis drew Oregon to 21-20 with 11:27 remaining in the first half.
Martin answered with a 3-pointer on the other end to spark a 9-2 Utah run. DuBois capped the spurt with a driving layup that gave Utah a 30-20 lead with 9 minutes left before halftime.
After Oregon again trimmed the deficit to six on a pair of free throws and a basket from Ben Carter, Utah closed the half on a 10-2 run. Washburn capped it by converting a three-point play with 2.9 seconds left to give the Utes a 44-30 lead at the break.
Washburn started the second half the same way he ended the first. He converted another three-point play in the opening minute that gave the Utes a 47-30 lead.
Oregon rallied and trimmed the deficit to single digits when Artis hit a 3-pointer to make it 55-47 with 11:05 left. Another 3-pointer from Singler made it 60-54 with 7:30 to go.
DuBois steadied the ship for Utah. He scored a pair of baskets to push the lead back to 10. Brandon Taylor then added a layup off a long rebound and a jumper to cap a 10-2 run that gave the Utes a 70-56 cushion with 3:28 remaining.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)