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Utes expecting a much faster tempo Sunday against Oregon

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.
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.
Don Ryan, Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. – After slogging its way to a 47-37 victory over defensive-minded Oregon State up the road in Corvallis Thursday night, the Utah basketball team should see a much different pace when it faces Oregon Sunday at 1 p.m. MST at the Matthew Knight Arena.

The Ducks are a team that likes to get out and run, as shown by its 76.7 ppg scoring average, which leads the Pac-12 and is 20th best in the country. Oregon State on the other hand, was last in the league in scoring and 313th in the nation.

“We’ll shift gears,’’ said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. “They’ll be an up-tempo team, a little different than we saw in Corvallis. They’ll get out there and try to score some points. It will be a tale of two different styles that we’ll have to get ready for. I know one thing, they have the leading scorer in the league in Young, who is a heck of a player and has been for awhile.’’

That would be Joseph Young, who leads the Pac-12 in scoring at 20.0 ppg while also contributing 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, tops on the team. It will be the last home game for the senior and two others as Oregon will also celebrate the football team, which made it to the national championship and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.

The Ducks are expecting the largest crowd of the season, one that may exceed 12,000 after averaging just 5,958 so far this season. After Sunday, the Ducks head out on the road for three games to finish the regular season.

Sunday’s game is a big one for Oregon, which is trying to get into the NCAA tournament. The Ducks are third in the Pac-12 at 9-5 and 19-8 overall and are considered “on the bubble” with a No. 60 RPI ranking. A year ago they were in a similar situation and defeated No. 3-ranked Arizona before a sellout crowd in their home finale. A win over Utah would strengthen their resume.

Besides the 6-foot-2 Young, the Ducks are expected to start junior forward Elgin Cook (12.6 ppg), freshman forward Dillon Brooks (12.1 ppg), senior guard Jalil Abdul-Bassit (8.5 ppg) and freshman forward Jordan Bell (5.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg). Contributing off the bench will be forward Dwayne Benjamin (7.9 ppg), guard Ahmad Rorie (5.0 ppg) and guard Casey Benson (3.9 ppg).

The Ducks started off 2-3 in Pac-12 play but have won seven of their last nine. Two of their five league losses were to No. 7 Arizona, by 18 points at home, their only league home loss of the year, and by 34 points, 90-56, on the road.

The Utes drove down to Eugene Friday after their Thursday night victory and have had two practices at the Knight Arena. Krystkowiak would like to see the ball get inside more Sunday and not have to rely on 3-pointers like in Thursday’s game. The Utes had just two shots from their centers all game with Jakob Poeltl and Jeremy Olsen each making their only tries and Dallin Bachynski not getting a shot off.

“It was a combination of them not always working, but in fairness to our big guys, I probably would have quit working too because we had a lot of guys on the perimeter who decided for whatever reason not to throw it into the post,’’ said Krystkowiak. “We chose to live off the perimeter for a lot of that game and there were some opportunities that we missed.’’

Krystkowiak also said that the reason Chris Reyes got only nine minutes and Bachynski just three Thursday night was because “they didn’t play that well.’’

“It’s not going to carry over from game to game, but we have to be ready right from the tipoff,’’ he said.

GAME NOTES: After Sunday’s game, the Utes return home for a pair of games against Arizona State Thursday night and Arizona Saturday. … Utah suffered its worst defeat in program history here three years ago when the Ducks crushed the Utes by 46 points, 94-48. The following year was much closer as Oregon took a 73-64 decision. The two teams didn’t play in Eugene last year and the Ducks won 70-68 in overtime in Salt Lake. … Utah’s only win over Oregon since joining the Pac-12 was a 72-62 victory at the end of the 2012-13 regular season. … Oregon leads the overall series with Utah 12-9.