Arizona dismantled Oregon 80-52 in the Pac-12 Championship game. Read on to find out more about the win, including who the player of the tournament was, what the key moments were, and more.
Arizona completely dominated Oregon 80-52 on Saturday night to win the Pac-12 Championship. Here’s a closer look at what happened:
Arizona Player of the Tournament:
Brandon Ashley – For the second night in a row, the junior played a phenomenal game. Ashley finished with 20 points, hitting six of his eight shots in the championship game. He also added eight free throws, five rebounds, and a key block as Arizona was pulling away late. The power forward dominated throughout his time in Las Vegas, showing that he is hitting his stride heading into do-or-die time for the Wildcats.
Ashley was rewarded with the Most Outstanding Player award for his performance over the three game stretch. The junior dominated by hitting jumpers, throwing down hard dunks, and not backing down from anyone during the week.
Oregon jumped out to a 10-6 lead early in the game with Dillon Brooks scoring five of the Ducks’ first points. Just five minutes into the game, Brooks picked up his second foul and the Wildcats proceeded to go on a 14-0 run to take an 18-10 lead with ten minutes remaining in the first half.
With just four minutes left in the first half, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson hit a three pointer at the top of the key to give Arizona a 12-point lead. On the very next possession, Gabe York hit his second three pointer of the night to cap a 10-0 run that put the Wildcats up 32-17.
With ten minutes left in the game, Arizona started to pull away. Dusan Ristic put in four quick points, Brandon Ashley threw down a monster dunk and Stanley Johnson added a free throw as the Wildcats pulled ahead 60-42.
The final straw in the game came with seven minutes remaining. Dillon Brooks grabbed Ashley with two hands and threw him to the ground. He was whistled for a flagrant foul and the Wildcats got the two free throws to go up by 20 points.
As time wound down, Jacob Hazzard handed the ball to the referee because the Wildcats were taking a shot clock violation with two seconds remaining on the game clock. Oregon hoisted one last heave towards the basket and the buzzer sounded. The Wildcats were champions.
Stats of the Night:
8 - There were plenty of other statistics that stood out in the game, but the most important one was that Joseph Young missed eight consecutive shots after hitting his first two. Arizona’s defense clamped down on the Pac-12 Player of the Year and held him scoreless during the most vital part of the game. The Wildcats pulled away during that time and never looked back.
It took several trips, but Arizona finally broke through and won the Pac-12 Tournament Championship. The Wildcats were able to do something that they hadn’t done in Sean Miller’s time in Tucson. Now they will look to continue the trend, riding this wave of confidence into the NCAA Tournament and attempt to get to Miller’s first Final Four.
The Wildcats dismantled Oregon and truly sent a message with the win. As of now, I can’t see any reason why Arizona shouldn’t be a one-seed in the West when the brackets are released on Sunday. The Wildcats have three poor losses, but are clearly one of the top four teams in the country and the best team west of Lexington. It seems like an easy decision, but the committee has been known to throw curveballs in the past. Don’t expect anything less this time around.
Arizona is playing its best basketball of the season right now and really firing on all cylinders. Brandon Ashley, Stanley Johnson, and Gabe York are all playing at or above their potential every time out. T.J. McConnell is doing a great job of facilitating and playmaking. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is showing why he is the best defender in the country and Kaleb Tarczewski has been playing physical, tough-nosed basketball in the post. The best teams play their best in March.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"We're excited and proud to be the champions not only in the regular season, but the tournament," 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. So they have a part in this as well."
"I think for every great team there comes a point where you really have to come together as a team and continue to grow, and I think we've done a great job of doing that," Ashley said. "I mean, it's just the right time. It seems like everybody is really clicking, and we're all starting to develop extremely great chemistry."