The first game was a thriller as No. 8-seeded Oregon State came back from a 14-point second half deficit to defeat No. 9-seeded Utah 71-69. Freshman shooting guard Jarod Lucas (12 points) hit a three-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining to win it for the Beavers (18-13, 8-11). Lucas connected on four 3s in the last six minutes to spark Oregon State’s comeback. The Beavers had to withstand a record-breaking shooting exhibition from Utah’s 6-1 junior shooting guard Alfonso Plummer. Plummer broke the Pac-12 tournament record with 11 made three-pointers. He finished the game 11-of-16 from distance for a game-high 35 points. Plummer hit eight first-half 3s as the Utes held a 39-31 lead at the half. Tres Tinkle led the Beavers with 19 points. The Utes (16-15, 7-12) dominated the boards by a 33-20 margin, including a 13-3 edge on the offensive end. They were done in by their 17 turnovers. They clearly missed their starting point guard Rylan Jones who was on concussion protocol. 6-8 Both Gach filled that role , and while he had six assists, he also committed six turnovers, including a costly one late in the game. Oregon State advances to face top-seeded Oregon in tomorrow’s first game.
No. 5-seed Arizona (21-11, 11-8) expanded a five-point halftime lead with a 14-4 run at the start of the second half and defeated No. 12-seed Washington 77-70 in the second game. Future NBA first-rounder Josh Green played one of his more effective games of the year, scoring 19 points on ten shots, hitting 3-of-4 from distance. Point guard Nico Mannion added 14 points on 4-of-8 from the field. Dylan Smith also scored 14 points but didn’t shoot well (3-of-13). However he played a solid floor game with six assists and four rebounds.
The Huskies (15-17, 5-14) have had issues ever since their starting point guard Quade Green was declared academically ineligible and today was no exception. They committed 19 turnovers, and combined with 3-of-22 three-point shooting, their fate was sealed. A bright spot for Washington this year has been the play of 6-9, 240-pound freshman Isaiah Stewart. Today Stewart was exceptional despite fighting foul trouble. He scored 18 first half points on perfect shooting and finished the game with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Stewart shot 9-of-11 from field and 10-of-11 from the foul line. Arizona advances to face No. 4-seed USC in tomorrow’s second game.
No. 9-seed California (14-18, 8-11) put a serious damper on No. 8-seed Stanford’s NCAA Tournament hopes as they dominated in a 63-51 win. The Bears led from the start. Led 30-20 at the half and were not seriously threatened the rest of the way. Paris Austin and Matt Bradley both scored 18 points to lead the winners. Kareem South added 15 points as Cal shot 48 percent from the field in each half. Daejon Davis led Stanford with 16 points. The Cardinal (20-12, 9-10) couldn’t get much going on offense throughout the game and shot only 32 percent (17-of-53) from the field, missing quite a few inside. Their leading scorer Oscar Da Silva was limited to four points on 2-of-11 from the field. Cal had a 36-25 advantage on the boards but that was mostly the result of 14 more missed shots by Stanford. Cal advances to face No. 2-seed UCLA in the first game of the evening session tomorrow night.
The No. 6-seed Colorado closed the regular season with four straight losses. They made it five after being thoroughly dominated by No. 11-seed Washington State (16-16, 6-12) 82-68. Colorado (21-10, 10-8) trailed at the half 35-25 and things got worse for them in the second half. CJ Elleby, the Cougars 6-6 sophomore star, dominated the action. Elleby scored inside and out, filling the stat sheet with 30 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out five assists. He hit 6-of-10 from deep as the Buffaloes had no answer for him. McKinley Wright led Colorado with 21 points while Tyler Bey added 19. The Buffaloes couldn’t connect from outside, going only 4-of-21 on three-pointers. The Cougars nailed 10-of-21 from deep. Washington State advances to play No. 3-seed Arizona State in the last quarterfinal tomorrow night.
Tomorrow’s games will be played with no spectators and only essential staff, TV network partners, credentialed media, and limited family and friends in attendance as a response to the COVID-19 situation.