Utah basketball: Utes take control inside against Oregon
Utah got "punked" at Oregon on Feb. 9.
That's what Jason Washburn told the media this past Thursday night, following the Utes' win over Oregon State at the Huntsman Center, and the statistics bear it out. The Utes were outrebounded 41-19 on that Saturday afternoon. Arsalan Kazemi dominated the interior, shoving around Utah's big men in the process.
Saturday afternoon proved to be a completely different story.
The Utes were the aggressive team in the paint. They rebounded, and most importantly they kept Kazemi in check. The result was a resounding 72-62 win on Senior Day a second consecutive victory for a Utah team that's gone through its share of struggles this season.
"The biggest thing was the rebounding," Washburn said. "That's the statistic that means the most to us. They really knocked us around up there and we were able to turn that around. It's a testament to all of the hard work that everyone's put in around here. We were tough today and that really showed when it mattered."
Washburn did his part with 13 rebounds to go along with 20 points. Jordan Loveridge pulled down seven rebounds, many of them in traffic. Kazemi? He scored five points and grabbed four rebounds in 28 minutes.
With Utah holding a 31-28 overall rebounding advantage, that went a long way towards the Utes leading for all 40 minutes. Utah outscored the Ducks 34-21 in the paint, underscoring its advantage on the interior.
The Utes didn't surrender a single point on the fastbreak. In short, they did everything needed in order to pull the upset over No. 19 Oregon.
"We didn't back down from them," senior forward Cedric Martin said. "We really wanted to get that consecutive win, that's one of the first things coach Krystkowiak talked about. We just went out and played hard. We executed and we got good results."