Salt Lake City, UT, Boulder, CO and Palo Alto, CA – The Pac-12 Conference started their conference schedule last night with five games. NetScouts Basketball’s scouts and correspondents were in Salt Lake City, Boulder and Palo Alto for three of the contests. In the only upset of the night Washington won at Arizona State 76-65. The Huskies (9-5) have not been playing well this season with losses to Cal-Irvine and Boston College and close wins over Montana, Long Beach State and Hartford. The Sun Devils were predicted the finish fifth in the conference. Washington got off to a 17-point halftime lead and never looked back. The Huskies defended the perimeter well, limiting the Sun Devils to 2-of-14 on three-pointers. Ariznoa State’s top long distance shooters, Jermaine Marshall and Jonathan Gilling were both 0-of-3 on three’s. Washington’s freshman point guard Nigel Williams-Goss sparkled in his first Pac-12 game with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and only one turnover.
The most exciting game was in Salt Lake City where Oregon (13-0) remained undefeated, squeaking out a 70-68 overtime win over Utah. The Utes’ Jordan Loveridge had two chances to win the game with open three-pointers, once at the close or regulation and again at the end of overtime. Loveridge led Utah in scoring with 21 points but shot an inefficient 8-of-23. Utah had the ball with six seconds left in overtime, ready to take the final shot in a tie game, but a lazy pass from center Dallin Bachynski towards Loveridge near the bottom of the key was intercepted and led to a game winning dunk by Damyean Dotson with 0.6 seconds left. Utah had a 10-point lead early in the second half as a result of strong inside play, particularly by the 7’0 Bachynski (11 points, 12 rebounds). However in the second half they settled for jumpers, mainly of them three-pointers, and the game turned in the Ducks favor. The Utes shot only 3-of-19 from long distance, most of them decent looks.
California’s point guard Justin Cobbs came up big in the Bears 69-62 win at Stanford. Cobbs (18 points) scored on a three-point play to put the Bears up by one with 3:31 left in the game. He then scored another six points, including two key jumpers to help the Cal to a nice road win against their rivals. Cal was led by 20 points from Tyrone Wallace. Richard Solomon had a double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds) and helped keep Stanford’s Dwight Powell (16 points, five rebounds) away from the boards. The game was evenly played until the last few minutes as Stanford’s poor foul shooting (10-of-20) kept them extending their leads.
Eric Moreland returned from his season long suspension to try to lead Oregon State past Colorado in Boulder. It wasn’t to be as the Buffaloes toughed out a 64-58 win over the Beavers. Colorado kept a small lead throughout much of the game, taking advantage of Oregon State’s sloppy offensive execution. The Beavers committed 17 turnovers, ten more than Colorado. Colorado’s interior defense was strong, limiting the trio of Angus Brandt, Jason Collier and Moreland to a combined 6-of-17 from the field. Oregon State’s frontline committed 12 of their 17 turnovers. Colorado was led by Josh Scott’s 13 points and 10 rebounds and won the game despite being ineffective offensively (5-of-20 three’s, 38 percent FG shooting and ten missed free throws).
Washington State headed to Tuscon missing their leading scorer Davonte Lacy as a result of a recent appendectomy. Another starter Dexter Kernich-Drew was out with a concussion. That pretty much took their outside threats away as the Cougars turned in an embarrassing performance against #1-ranked Arizona in a 60-25 loss. The Cougars shot 9-of-45 for the game, had only seven points in the first half and only made two field goals in the first half, the first coming after 13 minutes and 16 seconds of play. It was the fewest points scored by the Cougars since they scored 25 points against Idaho in 1938. No Arizona player played more than 29 minutes. The Wildcats were lead by center Kaleb Tarczewski (11 points) and by Aaron Gordon’s ten rebounds.
The featured game this weekend will be the match-up between the undefeated Oregon Ducks (ranked #10) and #20-ranked Colorado on Sunday afternoon in Boulder.