Oregon continues to look dangerous
Ducks open Pac-12 tournament with their eighth consecutive victory
The Associated Press
LAS VEGAS — Joseph Young scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half and Oregon pulled away for an 88-74 victory over Oregon State in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament Wednesday.
The 342nd meeting between the Civil War rivals was their first in the Pac-12 tournament and carried plenty of implications for Oregon’s NCAA tournament chances.
The defending tournament champion Ducks (23-8) came through after a shaky start, relying on their depth and superb second-half shooting to earn a spot in the quarterfinals Thursday against second-seeded UCLA.
“The difference in the game was our 21 points off their turnovers,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said.
Jason Calliste scored 17 points and Oregon hit 16 of 20 shots in the second half for its eighth consecutive victory. The Ducks outscored Oregon State 46-6 off the bench and made 10 of 16 three-pointers.
“I thought we got a lot of contributions from a lot of guys,” Altman said. “I thought our depth was a big factor in the game.”
Angus Brandt scored 20 points and Roberto Nelson had 19 in what was likely their final game with the Beavers (16-15).
Oregon is arguably the most dangerous team in the Pac-12 tournament, even as the No. 7 seed.
After opening the Pac-12 at 3-8, the Ducks have looked more like the top-10 team they were at the beginning of the season, reeling off seven victories to close out the regular season. Oregon picked up a big one to close the season, beating then-No. 3 Arizona at home to boost their NCAA tournament profile, but still was lingering around the bubble heading into the tournament.
Oregon State was the No. 10 seed, but was not going to be an easy out for Oregon.
Nelson did his part in the first half, scoring 13 points, and the Beavers were good when they got shots off, hitting 14 of 19. The problem came when they couldn’t get shots off.
After missing its first nine shots, Oregon raced past the Beavers behind its defense.
Creating turnovers with their press and half-court pressure, the Ducks went on a 21-4 run to race past the Beavers for a 26-19 lead.
It stayed close until midway through the second half, when Young took over.
The junior guard known for putting up points in bunches did just that against the Beavers, scoring on three consecutive drives and a basket underneath to cap a 17-2 run that put the Ducks up 71-59 and firmly in control.
“We were executing, moving the ball around, cutting,” Young said. “Everybody wasn’t standing in one spot.”
Colorado 59, USC 56
Askia Booker scored 21 points and sparked a late run to lead the Buffaloes (22-10) past the Trojans (11-21).
Their NCAA tournament hopes still up in the air, the Buffaloes could not afford a defeat against the last-place Trojans.
Despite beating USC twice during the regular season, Colorado had a hard time shaking the Trojans, unable to get much separation until going on a 13-1 run late in the second half.
USC still had a shot at the end, but Byron Wesley’s three-pointer at the buzzer came up just short. Josh Scott had 13 points and Xavier Johnson added 11 for the Buffaloes, who move on to face California.