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January 3, 2014
Dotson helps lift Ducks to stay perfect
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) One possession changed the game for No. 10 Oregon and Damyean Dotson played the most important role in letting it unfold.
Faced with Utah setting up a potential game-winning shot in the waning seconds of overtime, Dominic Artis tipped a pass intended for Dallin Bachynski to Dotson and he raced down the court for a breakaway dunk with 1 second left.
Dotson's basket sealed a 70-68 comeback victory in dramatic fashion and helped the Ducks remain unbeaten on Thursday night in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.
''That was unbelievable,'' said Dotson, who finished with 11 points. ''I never had a game-winner like that before. It's the greatest feeling for me. That's a great way to start conference (play).''
Richard Amardi had 14 points and Artis added 12 for Oregon (13-0, 1-0), which rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half. The Ducks are off to their best start since winning 13 straight games to open the 2006-07 season.
Oregon won despite shooting only 38.7 percent (24 of 62) from the field. The Ducks made up the difference by holding the Utes to 38.1 percent (24 of 63). Both teams ranked in the top five nationally in field goal percentage coming into the game.
''Nobody got a rhythm to their offense,'' Oregon coach Dana Altman said. ''They're a good offensive team. I like to think we are. Neither team had a very good rhythm and missed some open shots. I don't know if it was tight because it was the first conference game. I don't know what it was. But there wasn't much flow offensively to the game.''
Jordan Loveridge scored 21 points for Utah, while Delon Wright chipped in 14 and Bachynski added 11 points and 12 rebounds. The Utes (11-2, 0-1) led by as many as 10 points in the second half, but could not overcome the last-second turnover.
Wright put the Utes ahead 68-66 with consecutive baskets. But Dotson made two free throws to tie it in the final minute before coming up with the winning basket.
Loveridge got off a 3-point attempt before the buzzer, but it bounced off the rim. He had a chance for a game-winning 3-pointer on the final play of regulation, but that shot also came up short.
''We know we can play and compete with everyone in the league,'' Loveridge said. ''Hopefully next time we can make the plays down the stretch. The guys that have been here the last few years understand what we need to do moving forward. It hurts of course but we can't sit back and think about it.''
Utah smothered Oregon on the defensive end to start both halves and the Utes built a 10-point lead early in the second half when Dakarai Tucker drained a 3-pointer to put Utah ahead 45-35 with 13:45 left.
That lead did not last long. Oregon tied the game behind a 12-2 spurt that started and finished with layups by Elgin Cook. The Ducks finally took a 51-49 lead on a tip-in basket by Amardi with 7:32 left.
''We got a little loose with the ball and didn't have that same intensity,'' Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. ''I think it was surprising to our guys to see them continue to run with us.''
The Ducks went up 58-55 on Johnathan Loyd's layup with 3:46 remaining. Wright made a layup and two free throws to tie it at 60. The Utes finally retook the lead briefly at 62-60 when Brandon Taylor made two free throws with 42 seconds left.
Dotson made two free throws with 27.5 seconds left. Then Loveridge misfired on the potential game winner and the game went to overtime.
It offered a snapshot of Utah's struggles from long range. The Utes shot just 15.8 percent (3 of 19) from beyond the arc.
''We knew they had a couple of shooters, so we were just trying to close out and run them off the line,'' Loyd said. ''If they did get it up, we tried to contest everything. And it worked for us. They missed some shots for us.''
Oregon opened the game by missing 12 of its first 14 shots from the field and went without a field goal for 6:18 between its first and second baskets of the game. The Ducks shot 35.7 percent from the field (10 of 27) in the first half.
Utah had a 20-10 edge in points in the paint in the first half even though both teams had 19 rebounds.