In their third head-to-head meeting of the season, the Oregon Ducks walked away victorious against the Utah Utes in a Pac-12 Championship Game that said blowout straight from the opening tip.
Freshman Tyler Dorsey, who will likely be a first-round draft pick come June, had 23 points and nine rebounds at the point to lead the Mighty Ducks to victory, their second Pac-12 Tournament Title in the past four years.
Oregon The Clear Champion Right From Tipoff
From the start, there was clearly a massive divide between the two teams; it was a matter of night and day.
Oregon started out the game shooting poorly from the field, but quickly improved to shoot 46% from the field in the first half. The Ducks got consistent scoring from five players in the first half (all five had over 7 points in the half).
Their defense was swarming for most of the first half, and that allowed them to do what they do best; score off of turnovers. The Ducks had 19 points off turnovers in the first half. Utes center Jakob Poeltl found the Ducks' defense especially tenacious, as he had four of his team's 13 first half turnovers.
Utah came out sluggish; the 13 first half turnovers simply proved it.
While this can be accredited to them having to play an overtime game on Friday, it is not a valid excuse for the Utes; Oregon also played in an overtime game on Friday.
The Utes were simply outhustled on both sides of the ball. Turnovers were the story of the first half (and most of the game), and Oregon to jump out to a 17-point lead at the end of the first half as a result.
Another story of the first half was the domination under the glass. The Utes allowed the Ducks to score 11 second chance points in the first half, compared to zero for Utah. The Utes got next to no production from their role players in the first half, as Poeltl and Brandon Taylor combined for 19 of their team's 21 first half points.
Ducks Close Out Dominant Performance
The second half continued what the first half had shown enough of. Oregon continued to dominate the glass and swarm the poor Utah players.
And just when it looked like Utah would gain momentum, Oregon would quickly get a steal and knock down a big shot at the other end of the court.
The Ducks could do no wrong, and conversely, the Utes could do no right. Oregon was relentless attacking the glass, and Utah was timid for most of the game. The athleticism of the Ducks was certainly on display; chase-down blocks, leaping putbacks, and second chances were just some of the examples of the Ducks' athleticism shown in the game.
For Oregon, the standout players of the game were Dillon Brooks and his 18 points, Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament Elgin Cook, who had 11 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, Chris Boucher, who added 15 points, seven rebounds, and Tyler Dorsey (23 points, nine rebounds).
For Utah, there weren't many players who stood out; only one player managed to reach double-digits.
The Ducks' blowout win certainly sets them up for an outside chance at a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Utah on the other hand, is looking at around a #4 seed in the bracket.
This is a big win for the Ducks heading into the NCAA Tournament; they have the potential to go all the way to the Final Four or further if they play the way they played against the Utes. Utah simply has to step it up and play alive if they want to get far in March Madness's main event.
[All stats courtesy of statbroadcast.com]