Eugene, Ore. • On the one hand, Jarred DuBois was ecstatic.
Seeing the basketball finally find its way through the hoop served as a relief for Utah's senior transfer out of Loyola Marymount. The last few games had been a struggle for DuBois. He found himself in and out of the Utes' starting lineup. The jumper wasn't falling. Teams were laying off him, making it difficult to drive to the rim.
So, scoring 20 points in Wednesday's loss at Oregon State the first time he's done that since November against Texas State had to be a good thing for Utah's leader in that category.
"I was happy in that aspect," DuBois said. "It had gotten hard to find a rhythm."
On the other hand? DuBois was disgusted with himself. Oregon State's Roberto Nelson poured in a game-high 26, with many of those buckets coming over his outstretched hands. He found himself out of position defensively for much of Wednesday night's 82-64 defeat to the Beavers. The lane to the basket for Oregon State may as well have been a highway, and DuBois was at least partly to blame.
So, for him, a breakout game was truly a mixed bag.
"Anyone can score the basketball," DuBois said. "What counts in winning games is what you do on the defensive end. I don't think I played well enough defensively, and it's something that I need to improve going forward."
Despite the frustration, DuBois and freshman point guard Brandon Taylor were bright spots for Utah against the Beavers. For the first time all season, a starting Utah backcourt proved difficult to guard.
Taylor scored a career-high 21 points and notched six assists. Also highly noticeable was his dominance of Ahmad Starks, the Oregon State point guard who is considered one of the best players at his position in the Pac-12.
Utah's rookie hit jumpers and got to the rim at will despite his 5-foot-9 frame. He shut Starks down on the other end, holding him to four points. Taylor and DuBois also worked well together, penetrating and finding each other for easy baskets.
For a Utes team that struggles to score, the remainder of the season hinges on combinations that work.
At least for one game, coach Larry Krystkowiak found himself a dynamic backcourt capable of scoring points in bunches.
The duo hit 3-pointers and got to the free-throw line 18 times. They had seven assists to three turnovers, while shooting just under 50 percent.
"They certainly played well together," Krystkowiak said. "Jarred has had a good week of practice, and tonight it translated to the game. We hadn't been starting him. But I think we started him against Oregon State because we needed scoring and Glen Dean hasn't been shooting well. We needed a little bit of a spark, and those two provided it."
• On Wednesday, Jarred DuBois reached the 20-point plateau for the first time since November 30.
• He scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half against Oregon State.
• Brandon Taylor scored a career-high 21 points against the Beavers.
Utah at No. 19 Oregon
P Saturday, 6 p.m.
TV • Pac-12 Network