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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Oregon rolls to Pac-10 crown

    LOS ANGELES – Cool off the Oregon Ducks.

    Winners of five straight coming in, including the last three by 18 or more, the No. 16 Ducks’ flame continued to blaze Saturday afternoon in Staples Center.

    After a 62.5-percent shooting exhibit Friday night against California, No. 4-seeded Oregon’s shooting percentage of 52.6 percent didn’t do justice to the type of shooting display the Ducks put on because the starters received their curtain calls with seven minutes still left on the clock.

    Junior guard Bryce Taylor made all 11 of his field goals, including seven 3-pointers en route to 32 points and an all-Pac-10 Tournament selection as Oregon (26-7) stomped No. 3-seeded USC (23-11) 81-57 to win the Pac-10 Tournament championship.

    “”That was one of the more phenomenal performances I’ve seen in college basketball the way he shot that ball tonight,”” said Oregon head coach Ernie Kent, and that was before he realized Taylor was perfect.

    “”I’m gonna search for a better word,”” Kent said when told of Taylor’s numbers. “”That’s unbelievable.””

    Jitterbug guard Tajuan Porter, who won the Pac-10 Tournament’s MVP award after leading the tournament in scoring, added 16 in the final game. Porter and his teammates ran the Trojans off the court with a 22-2 run in the second half, stretching a 15-point lead to 67-32 and eventually all the way up to 39 points.

    “”We’re just peaking at the right time,”” Kent said. “”There’s a lot of guys with a lot of confidence, really, really shooting that basketball.””

    After an initial 7-2 surge by the Trojans, Oregon ran off a 19-2 run and never looked back. The team from the home of the Nike swoosh was all swish before the bench missed the last eight shots.

    USC guard Gabe Pruitt went 2-of-12 from the field after he made 7-of-9 field goals in a semifinal win over Washington State Friday. Sitting at the podium following the game, Pruitt said he had been feeling it in warmups, to which head coach Tim Floyd replied, “”I hope you’re feeling it tomorrow too.

    Pruitt was not feeling it though. He started the game 1-of-8 and scored three points in the first half.

    “”I wasn’t ready for the pressure,”” he said. “”Playing against Washington State, a laid-back team, but Oregon got in the passing lanes, got into you.””

    The Trojans, who shot 37.7 percent, fell to 0-3 in Pac-10 championship games.

    “”It was embarrassing,”” said USC forward Nick Young.

    Young and Taylor matched up in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley in high school, but even then Taylor hadn’t played the type of game he did Saturday afternoon in front of family and friends.

    “”I don’t think I’ve ever done that before,”” Taylor said.

    Floyd said he’d seen that type of performance in the pros, but not in college.

    “”He was outstanding … we had no answer for him,”” he said.

    UO guard Aaron Brooks scored 15 points, and the Oregon starters shot 63.6 percent.

    Kent said he would disappointed in anything lower than a No. 2 or No. 3 seed.

    “”Once we regrouped and got our legs back this team has just been on a fantastic roll,”” he said. “”We’ve played great the last six games, gotten a little better each game.””

    The Ducks won the tournament in 2003, but after two down years, the tournament title was that much sweeter.

    “”We love coming down here, we love LA, we love the Pac-10 Tournament,”” Kent said.

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