Portland, OR – The first and hopefully not last PK80 Invitational ended in Portland Sunday night with Duke and Michigan State winning their brackets and taking home championship trophies. Duke came back from a 17-point second half deficit to topple a strong Florida team 87-84. Michigan State dominated defending national champion North Carolina from the start and won handily 63-45.
Marvin Bagley III once again led the Blue Devils to the win with 30 points and 15 rebounds, not quite as good as his previous game of 34 points and 15 rebounds but good enough to be named the MVP of the Motion bracket. 6-6 Jalen Hudson led the Gators once again with 24 points and 10 rebounds but missed the front end of a key one-and-one late in the game that would have given Florida a three-point lead. Duke came down and scored to take a one-point lead and then Gary Trent Jr. stepped in for a steal, was fouled and made both free throws. Florida’s Egor Koulechov missed an off-balanced three at the buzzer as Duke escaped with the win. Hudson helped Florida battle the bigger Blue Devils fairly evenly on the boards despite only have one starter taller than 6-6. Bagley was unstoppable in the last two games of the event and is clearly the best big man in the country at this point. It’s even more impressive when considering that he could have been still playing in high school this year.
Joshua Langford led Michigan State to their win with 23 points, connecting on 5-of-7 three-pointers. The Spartans were the tougher team ending the contest with a +16 advantage on the boards and won despite committing 24 turnovers. They were helped by the worst shooting performance in Tar Heel history (24.6 percent, including an inept 1-of-18 on 3s. The Spartans hounded passing lanes, contested shots and made nothing easy for UNC’s offense. Michigan State averaged giving up 51 points per game in their three games at the event. If they continue to defend that well they will be a contender for the national championship.
Gonzaga came out of the event looking like the favorite for the WCC title and showed that they will be a tough out in the NCAA tournament. The Zags came back from their tough double overtime loss to Florida by topping Texas in OT 76-71 behind Japanese import Rui Hachimura’s 20 points and nine rebounds. The Longhorns were down by 21 points with 14:08 remaining and were still down by five with 17 seconds left. Mo Bamba (9 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks) scored with six seconds left to cut the lead to three. Then Dylan Osetkowski stole the inbounds pass and Andrew Jones (18 points) canned a three-pointer with one second left to send the game to overtime. Gonzaga held Texas to 1-of-5 from the field to secure the win.
Besides Duke, Michigan State, Florida and Gonzaga there where several teams that helped themselves at the event. Arkansas beat a good Oklahoma team by nine points in the opener and after losing to UNC came back to dismantle UConn 102-67. 6-3 Jaylen Barford was impressive with 24 points against UConn, connecting on 4-of-5 3s. The Razorbacks connected on 45 percent of their 3s in their three games. C.J. Jones and Daryl Macon both appear to be solid long range shooters for Arkansas.
Butler made a miraculous late 15-point comeback to eventually defeat Ohio State in overtime, The Bulldogs topped their former coach Chris Holtmann. The Bulldogs previously lost to Texas and escaped with a two-point win over Portland State. That seemed like a bad game for Butler until Portland State defeated Stanford Sunday rather easily. The Vikings played Duke very tough, even led at the half and were one late three-pointer away from upsetting Butler.
On the disappointing end are two Pac-12 schools, Stanford and Oregon. The Pac-12 is not having a good start to the season and this event made it worse. Stanford went 0-3 with the Portland State loss looking particularly bad, The Cardinal committed 28 turnovers and made the Vikings look like clearly the better team.
Oregon, with mostly a new team which came into the event with four easy wins over poor competition, looks like they clearly have work to do. They didn’t seem to play particularly hard, were out of position on defense, dribbled too much and settled for individual moves on offense. Oklahoma’s point gaud Trae Young is extremely talented but he put 43 points on the Ducks easily. Oregon beat a poor DePaul team in overtime and lost to what looks like a below average UConn squad before being defeated by Oklahoma in their finale. Ohio State also didn’t show very well. Gonzaga blew them by 27 points out and an eight-point win over Sanford suddenly doesn’t look so good. Blowing that big lead to Butler puts them on this list.
All in all it was a great event in Portland, comparable to an NCAA tournament atmosphere. Hopefully they will do something like this again at some point. Generally teams schedule their November tournaments two years or so in advance so we may have to wait awhile.
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