After grinding out a victory on its first stop of a two-game run through the Beaver State, Utah could be in for another stiff test while trying for a rare win at Oregon.
Seeking a sixth straight victory, the ninth-ranked Utes will try to prevent the Ducks from extending their season-high home winning streak to seven games Sunday.
Despite being held some 27 points below its average coming in, Utah (21-4, 11-2 Pac-12) showed why it’s the conference’s top 3-point shooting team and among the nation’s best defensive squads in Thursday’s 47-37 victory at Oregon State.
The Utes shot 42.5 percent but went 5 of 9 from beyond the arc in the second half and held the Beavers to 33.3 percent shooting overall – including 2 of 15 from 3-point range – to become the first opponent to win in Corvallis this season.
"We don’t have any individual players on the team this year. We just have people who want to see the team win," said reserve swingman Dakarai Tucker, who had a team-high 11 points.
On a night when offensive leaders Delon Wright, Brandon Taylor and Jordan Loveridge combined for 25 points, Tucker hit a pair of key 3-pointers and was the only Utah player to score in double figures.
Utah, which overcame a 2-of-10 effort from long range in the first 20 minutes, is shooting a conference-best 40.6 percent from beyond the arc.
However, the Utes pride themselves on a defense that allows an average of 55.6 points and 37.7 percent shooting.
"They’re good," Oregon coach Dana Altman, whose team enters the weekend averaging a league-leading 76.7 points, told the school’s official website.
The Ducks (19-8, 9-5) now get their first chance this season to see just how good.
Oregon earned a 70-68 road victory on a breakaway dunk with one second left in overtime of the only meeting last season. The Ducks are 5-1 and have won both home meetings against the Utes since they became conference rivals in 2011-12.
Utah is 2-5 at Eugene and has dropped four straight there, though prior to joining the league had not visited Oregon since December 1989.
The Utes, however, are in the midst of their best season as a member of the Pac-12 and only focused on the present.
"We have a different team this year," said Tucker, who has totaled 23 points in two games. "Everybody has their role … and everybody’s focused on playing their role."
The Ducks haven’t lost at Matthew Knight Arena since an 18-point setback to then-No. 7 Arizona on Jan. 8. Intending to rely on the support of an expected full house for this regular-season home finale, they’ll try to snap a five-game skid against ranked opponents.
Oregon won three straight against Top 25 teams at home before losing to Arizona.
"If we get the win and the team comes together, we’ll give the fans what they want to see," Oregon guard and Pac-12 scoring leader Joseph Young said. "We want to see a packed house, and I’m sure we’re going to get that."
Young (20.0 points per game) has averaged 25.6 points while hitting half of his 94 shots in five games this month. He was held to nine and committed four turnovers in last season’s win over Utah.
Loveridge, who has been held to 13 points in the last two games, scored 21 while Wright (14.1 ppg) added 14 in last season’s meeting.