Oregon wins the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament

LAS VEGAS – Oregon won the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night 88-57, in a game that was virtually over at halftime. Elgin Cook was named the Most Outstanding Player for the four-day tournament and he and three of his teammates were selected to the all-tournament team.

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“We played really well tonight, and, first of all, this kind of game happened to us a year ago against Arizona, and we weren’t that bad a year ago,” said Oregon’s Dana Altman of the lopsided victory. “Utah just had an off night.”

Off night for sure.

Both teams played tough games on Friday night and both games went into overtime. Utah beat California 82-68 while the Ducks overcame Arizona 95-89.

So there was no excuse there. Oregon beat Utah for the third time this season and in this game the Ducks did everything they could to keep the Pac-12’s Player of the Year Jakob Poeltl from scoring or even getting his hands on ball for that matter.

Oregon took off initially and jumped out to an early 8-2 lead but Utah kept its poise and the game looked as though it might continue the trend of a close, tight game. That all changed though as the half moved along and by halftime Oregon was up 38-21. Not an insurmountable lead, but how the Ducks got the lead really tells the story of the game.

Oregon had a 13-3 turnover advantage over Utes which produced a 19-4 points off turnover edge.

Utah never recovered from the fact that the players could not get the ball into Poeltl so he could do the damage he is capable of doing.

“The difference, in my opinion, 38 points at halftime that they (Oregon) had, and 19 of them were off our turnovers and 11 of them were on the offensive glass,” explained Utah headman Larry Krystkowiak. “So 30 of their 38, and we’ve always talked about it. We’ve talked about it the entire season, you can’t give any team easy baskets, and they easy ones come in the form of turnovers that you can’t defend and offensive rebounds around the glass.”

When the second half started, Utah looked shocked and the played as if they weren’t quite sure what they wanted to do. Poeltl sat out almost four minutes at the start of the second half, and that’s when the Ducks went to work on offense.

Tyler Dorsey, one of those Duck players selected to the all-tournament team was a man on fire. Hitting jumpers and simply out hustling the Utes for rebounds finished the night with 23 points and nine rebounds. When Dorsey wasn’t doing his thing, then Dillon Brooks, another all-tournament player was scoring 18 points. Chris Boucher made up for the near fatal mistake he made the night before by scoring 15 points, nabbing seven boards and blocking two shots. Oh, by the way, Boucher was also an all-tournament player.

 Cook, had his usual hustling game scored 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals.

“We jumped on them in the first half pretty quick,” said Dorsey of the game. “Coming into the locker room at halftime we knew like the last game (against) Arizona we let them come back. We knew we emphasized on that and not letter them jump back on us in the first five minutes of the second half. That’s what we did.”

For the game Oregon shot 52 percent for the game on 33-of-64 shooting including hitting 11 three-pointers and was 11-of-18 from the free throw line in a game that didn’t have many whistles.

Utah shot 43 percent on 19-of-44 including seven 3-point shots and was 12-of-15 from the charity stripe.

The big statistical imbalance in the game came in turnovers and points off turnovers. For the game Utah turned the ball over 20 times to Oregon’s seven which accounted for a total of 28 Oregon points to Utah’s 9. The second big difference was rebounding in which Oregon had a 36-to-25 advantage and a 17-to-8 offensive rebounding difference that produced 23 second chance points for the Ducks and only six for the Utes.

Poeltl was Utah’s leading scorer with 13 and the only Ute to score in double figures.

It was a blow out, fair and square.

Now both teams await the decision of the selection committee on where they will be seeded in the NCAA Tournament.

Utah will have to go back to work and figure out the mistakes that took them out of the Pac-12 Championship game so quickly.

For Oregon, they’ll feel pretty good about the selection process with considering they won both the regular season and the tournament championships this year

“It’s been a great year,” said Dorsey. “We’ve been fighting all year. We came together lately winning these last eight games. It’s just a great feeling winning the conference championship and the tournament.

But we’ve got to keep   it going. We’ve got to lock in, take a couple days off, enjoy it, but we’ve got to get going and lock in and see who we’re playing on Friday. So I’m happy and I’m enjoying it.”

Notes:

Oregon now has won four conference tournament championships.

The No. 1 seeds are ow 36-11 all-time.

The 31-point margin of victory was the largest in tournament history.

Besides Boucher, Cook, Brooks and Dorsey, Cal’s Ivan Rabb and Utah’s Poeltl were also selectees to the all-tournament team.

Dorsey nearly hit his season and career high of 25.

During this eight game win streak of the Ducks, they have outrebounded opponents by a plus 62 boards.

Oregon made more field goals in the first half than Utah attempted (16-35 to 6-15).

Utah only led once in the game (11-10).


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