In the opening game, Colorado (17-14) beat Arizona State (20-11) 97-85, pulling away with a 56-point second half. The loss put the Sun Devils firmly on the NCAA tournament bubble. After big early season wins over Kansas, Xavier and Kansas State they had an 8-11 conference record and have now lost five of their last six games.
Freshman point guard McKinley Wright was impressive for the Buffaloes with 20 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists against only two turnovers. Five other Colorado players scored in double-figures led by Dominique Collier’s 17 points. Colorado shot over 50 percent from the field including 13-of-21 (62 percent) on three-pointers. Remy Martin came off the bench to lead Arizona State with 20 points, hitting 3-of-6 three-pointers. The Sun Devils were hurt by missing nine free throws (12-of-21) including the front end of several one-and-ones. Colorado shot 90 percent (18-of-20) from the line. The Buffaloes advance to play top-seeded Arizona in the first game tomorrow. The Sun Devils go home to sweat out Selection Sunday.
Stanford (18-14) had their way with Cal (8-24) in the second game of the afternoon session, running away from the Bears in the second half in a 76-58 win. Reid Travis led the Cardinal with a 19 point, 13 rebound double-double. Dorian Pickens connected on four three-pointers and added 16 points. 7-0 center Josh Sharma provided a lift off the bench for the Cardinal scoring 12 points on 5-of-6 from the field, including a nice back- to the basket dunk.
Darius McNeill kept the Bears fairly close in the first half, scoring 19 of their 28 points but did not score in the second half. Cal trailed by 11 at the half and things got progressively worse for them in the second half. Stanford held Cal to 28.2 percent shooting (20-of-71) including 28 percent (7-of-25) from deep. The Cardinal starters got quite a bit of rest in this game as they get ready to face No. 4 seed UCLA tomorrow afternoon. Cal’s season mercifully comes to an end.
Oregon State (16-15) ended Washington’s (20-12) NCAA Tournament hopes with a 69-66 overtime victory in the first game of the evening session. Center Drew Eubanks led the Beavers with 19 points. Tres Tinkle added 12 points on an inefficient 3-of-14 shooting but made two key free throws with three seconds remaining in overtime to ice the game. Tinkle added 10 rebounds. Matisse Thybulle had a solid outing for the Huskies, scoring 16 points, hitting 3-of-7 from long distance, grabbing four rebounds and blocking two shots. Thybulle, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, may have a professional future due to his length, versatility and defending ability on the wing.
Noah Dickerson added 15 points and 10 rebounds but fouled out in overtime, as did freshman Jaylen Nowell (9 points). The Beavers kept the Huskies in the game by missing 12 of their 32 free throw attempts. Both teams shot relatively poorly at just under 40 percent. Oregon State was only 5-of-22 (22.7%) from deep while Washington was not much better at 28.6% (6-of-21). Oregon State advances to face No. 2 seed USC tomorrow night while Washington heads home to await an NIT bid.
Oregon’s Kenny Wooten blocked two Washington State shots in the last 13 seconds of overtime to help preserve a 64-62 Duck victory. Oregon led for only 1:11 of the 45 minutes, played dismally most of the night and were lucky to escape with the win.
Both teams sleepwalked through the first half with Washington State leading Oregon 24-17 at the break. Perhaps it was the late 9pm start but you would have thought each team would have been playing with some urgency. The teams finished the half a combined 1-of-13 shooting. Oregon shot 29.2 percent in the half with freshman Troy Brown Jr. shooting 0-of-6. Each team committed seven turnovers in a slow paced game. The Cougars led all scorers with 10 points, actually connecting on 2-of-3 from distance.
The second half play picked up some. Washington State went out to an 11-point lead (32-21) before Oregon started to trap and press full court. The Ducks also tried to get Payton Pritchard (18 points) loose for corner three-pointer. He converted in 4-of-7 in the game, one late to bring the Ducks within one at 50-49. A Mikyle McIntosh (18 points) inside drive put Oregon up by one, then a Troy Brown Jr. steal and dunk gave Oregon a 53-50 lead with 56 seconds remaining. It was his first basket after missing his first eight shots. Malachi Flynn (22 points) then tied it with a three-pointer giving Oregon a chance to win it with a last shot. Pritchard dribbled the clock down, then missed a three-pointer sending the second straight game into overtime.
The teams stayed close with another Flynn three-pointer helping the Cougars maintain a small lead. A Flynn 18-footer gave Washington State a 61-57 lead. McIntosh then scored inside to cut the deficit to two. Flynn made 1-of-2 free throws and Troy Brown made a driving layup to make the score 62-61. After a Cougar turnover the Ducks has a chance to take the lead. They did it with a Pritchard drive and layup. The Cougars had their another chance with 20 seconds left in the overtime. Kenny Wooten then came up with a big block on a Flynn drive. Pritchard was fouled and missed both free throws but Troy Brown grabbed the offensive rebound, his 11th. Brown’s made 1-of-2 free throws, then Wooten came up with another block on a final Cougar drive to give the Ducks a 64-62 win. Oregon advances to face No. 3 seed Utah in the final game tomorrow night.
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