Oregon Finishes off Utah to Advance to Finals

LAS VEGAS, Nev., -- The Oregon Ducks are in the championship round of the 2013 Pac-12 Tournament held at the MGM Grand Arena by defeating the Utah Utes, 64-45. The Ducks relied on tough defense and some critical play from veteran players. The Ducks will face UCLA in the championship game on Saturday night with tipoff scheduled for 8:00 p.m.

(PHOTO) Oregon Ducks forward E.J. Singler (25) drives to the basket against the Utah Utes during the first half in the semifinal round of the Pac 12 tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

"I thought we played really hard the first half defensively," said Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman of the game. "We didn't want to give up easy baskets. They had a couple of good looks that they missed. In fairness to them, that's their third game, and they'd shooting it well."

Oregon relied on its depth as the Ducks played a total of 11 players but got significant minutes from nine.

"We played nine guys quite a bit," explained Altman. "E.J. (Singler) had the most minutes, but he's tough and he's played a lot of minutes all year."

In the first half, Oregon jumped out to a 29-15 lead behind the scoring of Damyean Dotson and Carlos Emory. Dotson finished the night with 14 point on 6-of-14 field goal shooting including knocking down two 3-pointers. Emory, also hit two 3's in the first half but it was clear that Utah, playing its third game in three days were feeling the effects, particularly after the big overtime win last night against California.

"We tried to set the tone fromt he start with out defense, not give then any easy buckets because that will get their energy going on the defensive end for them."

In the second half the Ducks hit a rough spot and the double-digit lead cut to eight points, but an aggressive Singler played through on his way to sharing the scoring honors with Dotson. Singler hit 14 points on 4-of-8 field goal shooting and was 1-for-2 in 3-point shooting. The senior also connected on 5-of-7 in free throws.

As the game wore on, Utah made an effort to cut into the Ducks lead but Johnathan Loyd provided the leadership and free throw shooting to ice the game for the Ducks. Loyd was perfect from the charity stripe by knocking down 8-of-8 shots and ended up with a total of 10 points. Emory also finished with 10 to round out the double-digit scoring for Oregon.

"E.J. really did some good things," praised Altman of his team. "Johnny (Loyd) steadied us at the point and got some contributions off the bench."

For the game Oregon shot 40.7 percent from the field on 22-of-54 including 5-of-15 beyond the 3-point arc. Free throw shooting continued to boost the cause as the Ducks were 15-for-19 for the game.

Utah was led by Brandon Taylor's 13 points and Jason Washburn, who last week wreaked havoc on Oregon, had 12. Utah shot 29.4 percent on 15-of-51 including 5-of-17 in 3's but were 10-of-12 from the line.

Oregon out-rebounded Utah 38-32 including having a 14-13 advantage in offensive boards. The Ducks handed out 11 assists to Utah's seven and had five less turnovers (17-12) and one more steal (8-7). Both teams blocked four shots apiece.

Tomorrow night Oregon takes on UCLA, who won in dramatic fashion, 66-64 over Arizona. One significant loss suffered by the Bruins on the last play of the game was when Jordan Adams, broke his foot after apparently slipping on a water bottle. Adams was the leading scorer in the UCLA-Arizona game with 24-points.

"Oh no, I'm sorry to hear that," Altman said upon being informed of Adams injury.

Altman went on to say that UCLA is "balanced" and that Oregon would not be able to change the way they play and the Ducks will have to play "straight up and hope to "slow" UCLA down.

The Championship game is set to tip off at 8 p.m. (Pacific) and will be carried on ESPN.

Official Statistics from Pac-12.org

eDuck Top Stories