GAME NOTES: Coming off their first home loss of the season, the Utah Utes will try to regroup on Saturday afternoon as they host the Oregon State Beavers in a Pac-12 Conference clash at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
The Beavers were also handed a loss in their most recent venture, falling to No. 20 Colorado, 64-58, on the road in the league opener for both. The setback was the third in the last five games for Oregon State, which is just 8-5 overall and 1-3 on the road. The Beavers begin a three-game homestand next Thursday against Stanford.
A last-second dunk by Oregon's Damyean Dotson sank Utah, 70-68, in overtime on Thursday. The loss was the first in 12 tries this season for the Utes, who are still an impressive 11-2 as they welcome in the Beavers. They head out on the road to challenge Washington and Washington State next week.
These two teams split the season series a year ago, with the home team coming out on top each time. Utah leads the all-time series, 13-10, although Oregon State has won three of the last four matchups.
Ball security, or a lack thereof, sank Oregon State against Colorado. The Beavers coughed up the ball 17 times, compared to only seven instances for the Buffaloes, leading to a 25-6 deficit in points off turnovers. Roberto Nelson scored 23 points as the only player to reach double figures for Oregon State.
Nelson (21.4 ppg, 3.9 apg) not only leads the Beavers in scoring, but he is also tops in the conference in that category as well. The 6-foot-4 guard has been a bit erratic in terms of shooting success of late, netting less than 40 percent from the field in four of the last five outings. Devon Collier (17.2 ppg, 8 rpg) is a more efficient scorer, netting 63.4 percent of his shots from the floor, although he netted just eight points on 3-of-7 shooting against Colorado. Angus Brandt (12.1 ppg) is the only other member of the team putting in more than five ppg. Brandt fouled out against the Buffs after scoring only four points.
Utah led by as many as 10 points in the second half against Oregon, but crumbled down the stretch, letting up a 12-2 run midway through the period and failing to hold a two-point lead in the final 43 seconds of regulation. In the extra session, the Utes had the ball with seven seconds left with the game tied at 68-68, but Dotson stole the ball and slammed home the game-winner.
Outside of that loss, the Utes have been dominant at both ends of the court on most nights. They rank first in the nation in field goal percentage (.528) and in the top-25 in scoring (85.9 ppg), assists (18.5 apg), rebounds (40.8 rpg), scoring defense (60.6 ppg) and opponent field goal percentage (.372). Jordan Loveridge (17.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg) is a talented forward who can stretch the floor with his range. However, he missed some potential game-winning 3-point attempts at the end of regulation and in overtime against Oregon. Delon Wright (1.48 ppg, 5.6 apg) and Brandon Taylor (10.8 ppg, 4 apg) are also important contributors.
If Utah can get back on track offensively and keep up the pressure on defense, it should have no problem getting back into the win column.
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