Las Vegas, NV - Arizona and Oregon battled for the Pac-12 Tournament title with the Ducks at a major disadvantage. Earlier Saturday they received word that their 6-10 senior forward Chris Boucher suffered a knee injury and would miss the remainder of the season. Playing without Boucher, a important part of Oregon's success on both ends of the court and with little time to adjust, the Ducks were at a disadvantage against a talented Wildcat team. They showed heart and determination but in the end Arizona prevailed and left the T-Mobile Arena with an 83-80 win behind 23 points from Allonzo Trier (6'4''-F-96).
Boucher is a non-traditional big who spends much of his time on offense in the corner or on the perimeter. That helps draw opposing bigs outside to guard him and opens up the interior for Oregon's guards to penetrate. He also provides interior defense with his shot-blocking ability and is a strong rebounder. Arizona started the game by posting up 7-0 freshman Lauri Markkanen for two quick hoops but Oregon, with the help of 6-11 reserve Kavell Bigby-Williams, did a decent job of defending inside and ended the game tied with the Wildcats in points in the paint with each team scoring 36 points.
Where the loss of Boucher really hurt the Ducks was in the shortening of their rotation. Without Boucher coming off the bench the Ducks could only muster three bench points, all from Bigby-Williams. In contrast, Arizona had 23 bench points with solid minutes from point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright and bigs Chance Comanche and Dusan Ristic. Jackson -Cartwright made two key second half three-pointers and Comanche him a important, late corner jumper.
With Jordan Bell (16 points, 10 rebounds) as Oregon's only reliable big, Arizona used their height and depth advantage to a +10 rebounding advantage. Trier grabbed eight rebounds and was particularly active on both ends of the court.
Arizona defends the ball extremely well led by their starting point guard Khadeem Allen. Oregon's guards had trouble getting good looks in the first half. The Ducks shot 1-of-8 from distance in the half and needed 17 first half points from Dillon Brooks to close the half within six points (35-29) of Arizona. Oregon went into a press in the second half to speed the game up and to try to create opportunities in transition. The tactic worked as the team combined for 99 second half points with Oregon scoring 51. Tyler Dorsey (23 points) and Dylan Ennis (12) both got aggressive and were able to score off penetration.
Oregon battled back from a 14-point deficit and cut the lead to 77-75 on a Bell put-back. After Trier made two free throws Brooks took a quick three-pointer that looked bad coming off his hands. Arizona grabbed the rebound and Trier made the free throws to seal the victory. The Wildcats got their revenge from the 27-point drubbing the Duck administered in Eugene in the team's only regular season meeting.
The loss shouldn't hurt Oregon much in their NCAA hopes as they still will likely get a No. 2-seed. Arizona will likely move up to a No.2 with an outside chance of a No.1 seed due to their strength of schedule and their performance since Trier returned to the court.
Player of the Year:Michael Mallory(6'1''-G) of S.Connecticut Rookie of the Year: Marshall Lange (6'2''-G) of Newberry Coach of the Year: Patrick Beilein of Le Moyne Honorable Mention Gerrel Irvin (6'8''-F) of Dominican, NY Hunter Leveau (6'5''-F) of King Michael Mallory (6'1''-G) of S.Connecticut Matthew Dogan (6'7''-G) of Gannon [read more]
Oregon Advances After Surviving Michigan's Buzzer-Beater Attempt - 9 hours ago
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The scoreboard had Oregon up by 2 points at the half, but it felt as though Michigan, the underdog, was about to overwhelm the Ducks. Michigan's point guard, Derrick Walton (6'1''-G-95) Jr., a senior, had deftly amassed seven assists, looking for all the world like a quarterback finding receivers like Duncan Robinson (6'8''-G/F-94) and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman through thickets of defenders. D. J. Wilson, a junior with a tall haircut and short shorts, had hit two 3-pointers and contribut... [read more]
The scoreboard had Oregon up by 2 points at the half, but it felt as though Michigan, the underdog, was about to overwhelm the Ducks. Michigan's point guard, Derrick Walton (6'1''-G-95) Jr., a senior, had deftly amassed seven assists, looking for all the world like a quarterback finding receivers like Duncan Robinson (6'8''-G/F-94) and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman through thickets of defenders. D. J. Wilson, a junior with a tall haircut and short shorts, had hit two 3-pointers and contributed a block and a steal in just seven minutes of play, his time limited by foul trouble. But Michigan's seemingly impending surge never materialized, as third-seeded Oregon, playing one of the country's most 3-point-happy teams, began to take more aim from deep and hit 3-pointers. And hit them and hit them and hit them. Five from sophomore Tyler Dorsey (6'4''-SG-96), two from junior Dillon Brooks (6'6''-F-96) - all in the second half. The Ducks, which entered making fewer than one-third of their shots from deep, made 47.1 percent (8-for-17) for the game. But Dorsey's most crucial shot came not from beyond the 3-point line, but on an acrobatic drive to the basket that put the Ducks ahead by a point with 1 minute 9 seconds remaining. Those proved to be the final points in a 69-68 victory for Oregon (32-5) over seventh-seeded Michigan (26-12), sending the Ducks to the round of eight on Saturday to play the winner of the later game Thursday night, between No. 1 Kansas and No. 4 Purdue. The Ducks were led by Dorsey and the junior Jordan Bell (6'9''-F-95). Dorsey had 20 points; Bell had a double-double, with 16 points and 13 rebounds - including, on the possession before Dorsey's lay-in, a crucial board on a missed Oregon free throw that he put back to cut Michigan's lead to 1 point. Michigan's Walton finished with 20 points and 8 assists, and his fellow senior guard Zak Irvin (6'6''-G/F-94) had 19 points and 8 rebounds. Moritz Wagner, a 6-foot-10 sophomore from Berlin, who goes by Moe, was Michigan's leading scorer in the last game, an upset of second-seeded Louisville, but on Thursday he appeared physically overwhelmed in the low post and hapless elsewhere, at one point botching a clear layup after Oregon gave him the lane. He finished with 7 points on 10 shots and barely saw the court in the second half. When Brooks hit a 3 with a little more than 13 minutes left in the game, Oregon led by 50-44 and looked in control. But the Ducks let the Wolverines back in it, missing their next five field goals and going scoreless for more than three minutes. Wilson played terrific defense on Bell, forcing him into a miss one-on-one in the post and then grabbing the rebound. Michigan took a 51-50 lead with Walton sitting for the first time in the game. Then Oregon fought back and built a 56-51 lead, with Tyler Ennis (6'2''-G-94, college: Syracuse) contributing a 3-point play. Wilson brilliantly faked his defender with the ball down low, only to miss the layup. Later, Wilson found Irvin underneath in a Walton-like assist to cut Oregon's lead to three. The game continued to seesaw between 3- and 5-point Oregon leads until Wilson hit a 3 to cut Oregon's lead to 60-58 with less than five minutes left. On Michigan's next possession, Walton dribbled at the top of the key, and Oregon's defense dropped back, giving him room to hit his own 3-pointer for a 61-60 lead for the Wolverines with 4:15 remaining. The lead was short-lived: Another Oregon 3-pointer was in store, from Dorsey. On the other end? A 3 from Irvin. With fewer than two minutes left and the shot clock dribbling, Walton took it upon himself again, creating a fadeaway shot that seemed to take an eternity to decide whether to go through the hoop or not. It finally decided in the affirmative, making the score 68-65 - Michigan's largest lead since the first half. Bell grabbed a missed Oregon free throw and put it in to make it a one-point Wolverines lead. This was followed by Dorsey's athletic drive to make it 69-68 Oregon with one minute remaining. Walton had one last chance to go ahead, but his attempt at a buzzer-beating 3-pointer was short. Though a major-conference champion with a famous football team, Michigan might have been the closest thing to a Cinderella story among the 16 teams that entered the N.C.A.A. men's basketball tournament's second weekend. Fledgling through the end of the season, its plane bound for the Big Ten tournament skidded off the runway, spooking the team and causing light injuries. The Wolverines proceeded to tear through that tournament, winning it all. Ranked as high as fourth overall in the Associated Press poll this season, Oregon lost its top shot-blocker, senior Chris Boucher, to a season-ending knee injury in the Pacific-12 tournament. The Ducks now look to make just their second Final Four in program history - and their first since 1939, the very first Final Four of them all. Courtesy of: nytimes.com
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