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Runnin' Utes instant analysis: Tucker sparks Utah to victory in low-scoring battle

Oregon State guard Gary Payton II, right, defends Utah guard Delon Wright during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Corvallis, Ore., Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Oregon State guard Gary Payton II, right, defends Utah guard Delon Wright during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Corvallis, Ore., Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Don Ryan, AP

CORVALLIS, Ore. — It wasn't pretty. In fact, it was very, very ugly.

However, a win is a win, no matter how ugly it is.

The Utes faced the Oregon State Beavers Thursday evening, a game in which both teams struggled all night to score the ball. At halftime, Utah had scored only 16 points, the Beavers had scored 14.

In the end, the Utes were able to pull away from the Beavers and come away with the 47-37 win.

Why Utah won: Dakari Tucker was the reason that the Utes came away with the victory. In a game where the Utes had a tough time hitting any shots, Tucker came off the bench and seemed to be the only player who wasn't in some sort of funk.

Tucker shot 4-for-6 from the field, including 50 percent from the 3-point line. He had a team-high 11 points and was the only Ute in double figures.

The lift that Tucker gave Utah was exactly what the Utes needed to scrape away a win on a night where they couldn't get anything going.

Turning point: With just over 18 minutes left in the game, the Utes and Beavers were tied at 16 points each. Delon Wright then went on a personal 5-0 run, and from that point on, the Beavers never tied the game or took the lead again.

A 5-0 run isn't something that would normally be game changing for a team like the Utes, but in such a low scoring game like it was Thursday night, a 5-0 run was enormous.

Although Oregon State cut the lead within single digits several times, the lead that Wright gave the Utes stayed with Utah the rest of the game.

Grading the teams: Offensively, Utah shot only 42.5 percent, and hit seven of its 19 3-point attempts. It did get 10 assists as a team, eight of which came thanks to Wright and Brandon Taylor.

The Utes won the rebounding battle 33-25, but got smoked in the turnover battle, committing 13 turnovers to Oregon State's four.

The Utes didn't play well by any means, but they were able to play just well enough to come away with the win. It was an ugly game, and being able to get a win on a night where nothing seemed to be going their way says a lot about the Utes as a team.

The Utes have received high grades for most of the season, but aside from the win, they weren't impressive at all against the Beavers.

Utah Runnin' Utes grade: D+

The Utes played bad, but the Beavers played worse.

Oregon State shot only 33.3 percent from the field, including a terrible 13.3 percent from the 3-point line, and 37.5 percent from the free-throw line. It had nine assists as a team, but the ball movement wasn't smooth or executed well.

Despite the fact that their rhythm was out of sync, the Beavers did a good job of not turning the ball over, as they committed only four turnovers in the game. On the defensive end of the ball, the Beavers were able to force 13 Ute turnovers, which was a primary factor for why Oregon State was able to keep it close for most of the game.

Oregon State shot extremely poorly on its home floor against one of the top teams in the country. Normally opponents elevate their game when they match up against an elite opponent. But the Beavers seemed to do the opposite. Aside from the turnover battle, Oregon State was outmatched in every way by a team that was having a bad night.

Oregon State Beavers grade: F

Three telling stats:

— Five straight conference wins is the largest conference winning streak by any Utah team since the Utes joined the Pac-12 Conference.

— Forty-seven points is the fewest the Utes have scored in a game since they scored only 39 in a loss to the Arizona Wildcats last March.

— The Utes had nine free-throw attempts in the game, which ties their fewest amount of attempts in a game all season. The other game was against UCLA on Jan. 29.

Up next: The Utes stay in the state of Oregon as they have a matchup on Sunday against the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks have a conference record of 9-5 and have won seven of their last nine conference games. The matchup between the Ducks and the Utes will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.

You can follow Mitch Kunzler on Twitter at @MitchKunzler.