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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


FINAL: Arizona drops semifinal to Oregon 95-89 in OT, awaits Selection Sunday

Tyler Baker
Arizona forward Mark Tollefson (23) prepares for a one-handed shot during the PAC-12 tournament semi-finals against Oregon in Las Vegas. The Wildcats are down 29-44 at half-time.

LAS VEGAS — Oregon stepped into McKale Center on Jan. 28 and snapped the Wildcats 49-game home winning streak.

On Saturday night, the Wildcats failed to defend McKale North.

No. 4 seed Arizona fell to No.1 Oregon 95-89 in the semifinal game of the Pac-12 Tournament Friday night in a thrilling game that saw Arizona erase a 15-point deficit to send the game into the extra period.

Dwayne Benjamin and Dillon Brooks hit big 3-pointers in overtime and the Ducks earned revenge on the team who beat them in last year’s conference championship game.

“In the second half, we ended up outscoring them by 15. I think that says a lot about our team,” head coach Sean Miller. “To give yourself a chance to win, to never give up, to just keep fighting and playing every possession to the end. We had a free throw that could have won the game which is amazing to think of.”

The Ducks got huge performances from Elgin Cook and Tyler Dorsey. Cook finished the game with 22 points and five rebounds. Brooks and Dorsey, a former Arizona commit, finished with 19 points apiece for the Ducks who will be playing the winner of Cal and Utah in the Pac-12 Championship game.

After trailing 44-29 at half, Arizona came out firing in the second. With 11:30 left in the game, Arizona went on a furious 11-3 run to bring the game to 65-60 with 7:51 to play.

The final two minutes of regulation saw March Madness begin to take over.

Cook and Dorsey came up with big baskets to give Oregon a 76-70 lead. Casey Benson then followed that by making one of two free throws, giving Oregon a 77-70 lead. Mark Tollefsen came back the other way and knocked down a three with 17.8 seconds to play in the game.

Chris Boucher missed two threes on the other end and Gabe York came back to hit another three with .7 seconds remaining. Tollefsen stole the inbound pass from Boucher and was fouled on the shot by Brooks right before the buzzer sounded. He made one of two free throws, sending the game into overtime.

“As a basketball player, when you start as a young kid you dream of those moments,” Tollefsen said. “For me, I just tried to do what I could for my team and knock one down.”

Read: Mark Tollefsen’s late-game heroics shouldn’t be overshadowed by missed free throw.

Despite the furious comeback, the Ducks proved to be too much for Arizona to handle in the final minutes.

“We’re 25-8 and I don’t right now say, ‘Man, what’s wrong with us,’” Miller said. “We’re disappointed that we weren’t able to advance to the championship, but we’re okay. We’re a part of the NCAA Tournament.”

Read: Arizona awaits fate on Selection Sunday for NCAA Tournament.

Arizona only trailed by two at one point in the first half after Kadeem Allen knocked down a 3-pointer made it 29-27. Oregon then closed out the half on a 15-2 run including a Dillon Brooks dunk right before the halftime buzzer.

York finished with 21 for the Wildcats, despite shooting 7-20 from the field. Allonzo Trier added 16 for the Wildcats who never held a lead in the game.

“It’s basketball,” York said. “We’re not done playing. We have one more game guaranteed and we’re going to do everything as seniors to make sure we get an opportunity to win these games.”

Arizona will now wait until Selection Sunday to see where they will be placed at the beginning of next week’s NCAA Tournament.

Follow Kyle Hansen on Twitter.

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