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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

Arizona WBB looks to rebound at home against UC San Diego
Jason Dayee, Assistant Sports Editor • December 7, 2023
 

Recap: Arizona wins Pac-12 Tournament Championship with 80-52 win over Oregon

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Tyler Baker

Arizona forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (23) raises the Pac-12 Tournament championship trophy above his head as the Arizona men’s basketball team celebrates their 80-52 win against Oregon in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. on Saturday night.

LAS VEGAS — For the first time since 2002 and the first time in the Sean Miller era, No. 5 overall and top seeded Arizona won the Pac-12 Tournament Championship. The Wildcats defeated Oregon 80-52 in a game that was out of reach by the halftime break.

Arizona (31-3) won its third game in three days to win the championship at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Wildcats’ Las Vegas struggles seemed to fade away as the clock ticked down on the game clock.

“We’re excited and proud to be the champions not only in the regular season, but the tournament,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “Our fans had a lot to do with it. We have one of the great home courts in the country and they made Vegas our home court here for three days.”

Arizona forward Brandon Ashley scored 20 points against the Ducks on 6-8 shooting from the field and was 8-10 from the free throw line. Ashley averaged 19.7 points per game over the tournament and was named the Most Outstanding Player.

Coming off an injury year in which he missed the second half of the season, Ashley said winning the Most Outstanding Player award was special but not possible without his teammates.

“I’m extremely appreciative of it but, at the same time, I feel like my teammates were just as big a part of me winning this award as anything else,” Ashley said. “They found me in great positions, kept their confidence up in me and honestly they played a huge role in this.”

Along with T.J. McConnell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson, Ashley was also named to the six player 2015 Pac-12 All-Tournament team. The only non-UA players to be named to the team were Oregon’s Joe Young and Utah’s Delon Wright.

McConnell ended his Pac-12 career with 12 points, six assists and three rebounds. Johnson and Hollis-Jefferson, arguably in their last Pac-12 games as well, combined for 21 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

The trio of McConnell, Hollis-Jefferson and Johnson combined to be a damper on Young and the Ducks. Young, the Pac-12’s Player of the Year, scored 19 points on 19 shots and struggled to get a clean look off for most of the game.

Miller had the luxury of shifting those trio and guard Elliott Pitts on Young and keeping a fresh defender on him all game. The only other Oregon player to reach double-figures was forward Dillon Brooks, who finished with 13 points on 3-5 shooting.

“No question, it’s a team effort,” Miller said. “Lot of times these guys get too much credit for individually guarding a player. T.J. will be the first one to tell you if Brandon isn’t where he’s supposed to be — it doesn’t work very well.”

Looking forward, Arizona is waiting for the NCAA tournament committee to announce the 68 team bracket on Sunday night. Several Wildcats said this is just the beginning of what is to come.

“We’re not finished yet,” Johnson said. “That was one goal. Obviously, we hope we have multiple games left to do what we have to do. A lot of guys on this team want to win a national championship and I think to everyone, 15 out of 15 will win a national championship and that was our goal to begin the season. Now we are at the start of our journey, lets finish it.”

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Follow Roberto Payne on Twitter.

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