The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

65° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Oregon advances to Pac-10 championship game

    LOS ANGELES – Wildcat fans watching the first semifinal of the Pacific 10 Conference Tournament Friday night could have pointed to the No. 16 Oregon Ducks and muttered to themselves, “”that could have been them.””

    No. 5-seeded Arizona’s loss to No. 4 seed Oregon Thursday not only prevented the Wildcats from advancing to the second round, but killed a good chance to reach the Pac-10 finals. Because No. 1 seed UCLA fell to No. 8 seed California, Arizona’s road to the championship game would have been a lot easier. The Wildcats (20-10) beat Cal twice, including a 70-65 win over the Golden Bears on the road March 1.

    Instead, Oregon (25-7) took advantage of the opportunity, whipping Cal 81-63 to advance to Saturday’s Pac-10 championship game against No. 3 seed USC (23-10) at Staples Center at 4 p.m. on CBS after the Trojans took care of No. 11 Washington State, the No. 2 seed, 70-61.

    “”This is really exciting for us just because of the last couple of seasons,”” forward Maarty Leunen said. “”We’ve shown just how far we have come these last couple of years by being here.””

    The Ducks, who suffered through a torturous 15-18 season last year, won their 25th game of the season.

    “”I’m very proud of this basketball team and the things they’ve been through,”” said Ducks head coach Ernie Kent.

    Freshman guard Tajuan Porter torched California in a similar fashion to the way he set fire to Arizona. The 5-foot-6 guard had a game high 24 points and made six of his 10 3-pointers.

    Guard Aaron Brooks scored 10 points and dished out six assists, and guard Malik Hairston scored 22 points on 10-of-13 field goals to help the Ducks, who shot 62.5 percent.

    The Bears trailed by 21 at halftime, their largest deficit, but went on a 19-5 run to close the gap to 49-42 capped by a Theo Robertson 3-pointer.

    After Kent called a timeout, Hairston made Cal pay for fronting by catching a lob pass, making a four-foot bank shot and drawing the foul. Following Hairston’s free throw, Porter scored a breakaway layup off a steal and stretched the lead back to 10.

    The Golden Bears wilted away, never getting closer than seven as Porter scored eight points in the last three minutes.

    Robertson and Ryan Anderson, both forwards, led Cal with 17 points each, but the Golden Bears shot 20 percent lower than Oregon from the field.

    “”We have played some of the best defense we have ever played since I’ve been at Oregon,”” Kent said.

    For Cal, the game was its third in as many nights and Oregon’s guards knew that fact well.

    “”We just wanted to run ’em, get em fatigued,”” Porter said.

    While the Ducks likely helped their NCAA Tournament seed, Cal may be lucky just to sneak into the NIT.

    “”I’ve had seven postseasons at Cal, and I’m as proud of this team as any of those other teams,”” Cal head coach Ben Braun said.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search