19th Ranked Ducks Prevail 75-64

Portland – It was the experience of a veteran team that proved to be the difference as the Oregon Ducks (7-1) beat the Utah Utes (5-3) at the Rose Garden, 75-64. Senior guard Bryce Taylor led the Ducks with 20 points but it was the "U-4" experience of Taylor, Malik Hairston, Tujaun Porter and Maarty Leunen that may have been the difference maker.

(PHOTO) Bryce Taylor (4) lays in two of his game high 20 points in Oregon's 75-64 win over Utah on Saturday, December 8, 2007 in the Pape Jam, held at the Rose Garden in Portland. (Photo by Chris Wilson)

"They have a veteran team, they have a team that came out of some timeouts and made some plays," said Utah Coach Jim Boylen. "Then they have Porter who is kind of an X-factor guy. He can make something out of nothing. He can make a loose ball into a three, and turns a bad shot into a make. In our scouting, he can take and make tough shots and at times they are demoralizing."

Boylen knows all about Porter because before he was at Utah he was at Michigan State and is originally from Grand Rapids, Mich. So he knows all about the "Detroit guys," Porter and Hairston. In a game that started out slow for the Ducks and methodical, it took some good weakside help to assist Leunen guarding Utah's big man Luke Nevill, some timely shooting by Taylor and some special 2-man play by Hairston and Porter to give the Ducks a victory.

Taylor finished the game up as Oregon's leading scorer with 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting including 3-of-6 outside the 3-point line. Porter chipped in 16 including one spectacular drive off a Hairston block in the second half. Leunen and Joevan Catron had 11 each. Leunen's performance on Nevill though might be a prelude to what fans might expect to see from the Ducks the rest of the year.

"If I was a golfer I would have to use an analogy that Tiger Woods uses a lot; we really had to grind through the game today," observed Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent. "It was a good win to get out the way, even though we didn't play our best basketball."

Nevill was held to nine points and five rebounds, well below his 14-point scoring average and seven rounds a game. Leunen did an admirable job against the 7-1 Nevill, a player that Kent likened to several big men in the Pac-10.

"He's probably just as skilled or more skilled than (Devon) Hardin at Cal, probably just as skilled as the Lopez twins at Stanford with the Lopez twins being stronger," said Kent of Nevill. "I just think Maarty (Leunen) did a good job neutralizing him and fronting him with some great weakside help."

Tyler Kepkay who finished as the game's leading scorer with 23 points paced Utah. No other Ute scored in double figures.

For the game Oregon shot 53.7 percent from the floor compared to Utah's 46.6 percent. One area that Kent said he would address with his team over then next few practices is free throw shooting. Normally a very good free throw shooting team, the Ducks managed only hitting 59.1 percent of their gift shots on 13-of-22. Meanwhile Utah only went to the free throw line five times for the game and was good on three of those shots.

While this is the first game of the season the Ducks have scored under 80 points and it was 11 points good enough to give the Ducks another quality win in the out of conference schedule.

Utah is still a very young team, but should be successful in the Mountain West Conference.

In the preliminary game, the Oregon women defeated UC Santa Barbara, 65-56. Ellyce Ironmonger was the Ducks' leading scorer with 17 points, she also had 12 rebounds. Ellie Maou had 14 points while Kaela Chapdelaine contributed 11. Chisa Onoiwu led Santa Barbara with 16 points while Jessica Wilson pitched in 12 and Kat Suderman added 10.

"We added some grit to the game," said Oregon Coach Bev Smith. "We were tougher, wiser, got on the loose balls, took charges and got down into the trenches a little bit."

The Oregon women are now 5-3 for the season and UC Santa Barbara slips to 3-5 for the year.

The 10th Annual Papé Jam recorded an attendance of 11,447.

Oregon-Utah Official Box Score

Oregon-UC SB Official Box Score

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