Las Vegas, NV – Oregon and Arizona, the top two seeds have advanced to the final of the Pac-12 Tournament which will be played tonight in a sold-out T-Mobile Arena. The Ducks, helped by a key three-point play by Dylan Ennis with 22 seconds remaining, turned back a gritty California team 73-65. Arizona handled UCLA behind 29 points and six rebounds by 7-0 Finnish freshman sensation Lauri Markkanen.
Tyler Dorsey led Oregon with 23 points, hitting 5-of-6 from long distance. 6-9 Jordan Bell grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked five shots. Ennis added 16 points. Grant Mullins kept Cal in the game, shooting 5-of-5 from distance on the way to 23 points. The Golden Bears played almost all of the game without key scorer Jabari Bird who suffered a head injury in the first minute of action and did not return. Oregon played much of the second half without Dillon Brooks who was whistled for back-to-back fouls two minutes into the half and sat with four fouls. Oregon was actually called for five fouls on one Cal possession. Brooks was ineffective in the first half shooting 1-of-9 and rushed some of his action. Oregon needed the contributions from the rest of their squad to pull this tough win out.
Arizona’s perimeter defenders, Kadeem Allen, Rawle Alkins and Parker Jackson-Cartwright made the game miserable for UCLA’s Lonzo Ball and Bryce Alford. At one point Ball and Alford were 0-of-11 on three-pointers and they finished the game 2-of-16 from deep. The Bruins in total were 4-of-25 on 3’s. Meanwhile UCLA’s defense couldn’t keep up with Markkanen, continually losing him on pick-and-pop situations. Markkanen hit 4-of-10 from deep, all of them good looks. The Wildcats are a different team since Allonzo Trier returned. The 6-5 wing played with energy in contributing 20 points, hitting 3-of-4 three-pointers and added four assists and four rebounds.
Tonight’s title game should be a high quality contest with two top teams playing at the top of their games. Ultimately it’s just a battle for the conference tournament title. The game will have only a minor effect on both teams’ NCAA tournament seeding. Oregon looks headed for a No. 2-seed while Arizona might get bumped up to a No. 2-seed if they win.
Several of the earlier games had notable performances. Colorado’s 6-5 Derrick White was particularly impressive in his teams’ two games and may have played himself into an invite to the Portsmouth Invitational. The D-2 transfer had 26 points, five rebounds and five assists in the Buffaloes first round win over Washington State. White then did his best in a 92-78 loss to Arizona, scoring 31 points with six rebounds and five assists. White has good size for a primary ball-handler and can score from all three levels.
Arizona State’s 6-4 Torian Graham was in the zone against Oregon scoring 32 of his teams’ 57 points. Graham had 17 points in the Sun Devils first game. He shot 10-of-20 on three-pointers and added 13 rebounds over his two games. Graham is an athletic scorer who will get looks for the next level.
Oregon’s Ennis and Dorsey have both stepped up their games at the event. Ennis only scored seven points in the Ducks win over Arizona State but it was one of his best games of the year as he grabbed 12 rebounds and had five assists. Dorsey has been erratic this year but has shown much more aggressiveness this week. Dorsey brought down nine rebounds against the Sun Devils and has averaged 22 points in two games.
This article was written by Carl Berman, Managing Partner of NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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