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Bubble Breaker?

EUGENE — Larry Krystkowiak had a simple diagnosis for what ailed No. 9 Utah on Sunday.

His Utes suffered from a lack of an inside presence, subpar 3-point shooting and a dearth of second-half rebounds in their 69-58 loss to Oregon.

"There were a lot of 50-50 balls that didn't go our way," Krystkowiak said. "We just need to play harder."

Dillon Brooks scored 11 straight points late in the second half and finished with 19 to help the Ducks (20-8, 10-5 Pac-12) enhance their own NCAA tournament chances.

Joseph Young added 14 points and Elgin Cook had 12 for Oregon, which sits comfortably in third place in the Pac-12 after its first victory over a Top 10 team since beating then-No. 3 Arizona last year in the regular-season finale.

Delon Wright scored 20 points for Utah (21-5, 11-3). The Utes dropped a game behind Arizona in the conference race with a showdown against the No. 7 Wildcats set for next Saturday in Salt Lake City.

Utah attempted more 3-pointers (29) than shots from inside the arc (23) for the first time this season, though many of the long-range tries came in catch-up mode late.

"Guys get up in us (on defense) and we've got to be able to make some plays and feed the post," Krystkowiak said. "I thought we were miserable at getting the ball inside.

"Then when we did get the ball inside, we didn't finish very strong. That's something we've got to polish up this week."

Brooks, a freshman, scored seven consecutive points to put the Ducks up by 10 with 4:58 to play. After Utah had a 7-0 run to pull within three again, Brooks added four more points — the last two on a driving dunk — to give the Ducks a 59-52 cushion.

"I thought he hit big buckets for us," Oregon coach Dana Altman said. "He really was aggressive taking the ball to the hole.

"We ran a couple things for him late because he did have the hot hand, and he responded pretty well."

Young's final shot brought the biggest roar from the season-best crowd of 10,725. After a video review gave the Ducks possession under their basket with 1:53 left, Young inbounded the ball and ran to the right corner.

Two quick passes and 4 seconds later, the ball was out of Young's hands, and his 3 made it 62-55.

"He hit a huge one when we needed it," Altman said.

Oregon sealed the win by hitting 7 of 8 free throws in the final 1:09. The Ducks were 15 of 18 overall from the foul line.

Utah made just 10 of 31 shots (32.3 percent) in the second half and finished 8 of 29 (27.6 percent) from 3-point range after coming in as the Pac-12's best beyond the arc at 40.6 percent.

The taller Utes, who also rank second in the Pac-12 in rebounding margin, saw the Ducks grab a 23-14 edge on the glass in the second half. Oregon finished with a 35-31 advantage in rebounds.

"They made plays when they needed to, and I thought they played with more energy overall," Krystkowiak said. "They kicked our butts on the glass in the second half."

Utah jumped to a 7-2 lead but lost 7-foot freshman Jakob Poeltl to his second foul after just 4 ½ minutes were gone on a play that also wiped out a 3 by Wright.

Poeltl, the Utes' top rebounder, missed the rest of the half and finished with five points and four rebounds.

Both teams struggled on offense until Young's layup gave Oregon its first lead at 21-19 with 5:30 left in the half. Young's first points also started a 9-2 run that helped lift the Ducks to a 32-27 halftime advantage.

Oregon forced the Utes into 11 turnovers in the first half and converted those into 11 points.


Utah: Sunday's loss snapped the Utes' five-game winning streak, their longest in conference play since joining the Pac-12 four years ago. Utah is already assured of its best conference finish. ... For the second straight game, Utah had just one player score in double figures. ... The Utes are unbeaten at home (15-0) but fell to 6-5 on the road.

Oregon: Only one former Oregon player, NBA all-star point guard Terrell Brandon, scored more points as a Duck in a two-year span than Young, who passed Luke Ridnour (1,191) with 14 points on Sunday to reach 1,196. Brandon had 1,263 points in his last two seasons before being drafted 11th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1991. ... Oregon's average home attendance of 6,209 is its lowest in 23 years.


Oregon's 69 points were the second-most scored against the Utes this season, matching UCLA's total in its victory late last month and just three off the season-opening high by Ball State. The Ducks also finished with a 15-5 edge in second-chance points. "They made plays when they needed to, and I thought they played with more energy overall," Krystkowiak said.


Utah hosts Arizona State on Thursday night.

Oregon plays at California on Wednesday night.

Oregon's Joseph Young is hoisted by fans after Oregon defeated No. 9 Utah at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene. AP PHOTO