The win marks the fourth time in five years that the tournament has been held in Las Vegas that the Ducks were in the final game.
Cal made life tough for the Ducks all game long with hot shooting by Grant Mullins, who hit four 3-pointers on five attempts, and the Bears actually led for most of the first half as much as 8 points. Oregon was hindered when star Dillon Brooks was ice cold, going 1-for-9 in the first half and drawing two quick fouls. When the halftime horn sounded, the Ducks held an unsteady 3-point lead at 36-33, and only led because of 7-0 run just before the half ended.
“Cal really got after us,” said Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman. “Mullins had a great game, hitting (four) threes and really kept that thing close.”
Also, factoring into the game was when Cal’s leading scorer Jabari Bird left 65 seconds into the game with an undisclosed head injury when Bell pump faked a shot, that caused Bird to jump and on the decent struck Bell’s shoulder then hit head first directly on the floor. Bird was taken to a local hospital for observation.
When play resumed, Brooks continued to play out of sync and quickly picked up his third and fourth fouls and with 18:02 left in the game, went to the bench, not to return until there was just over five and half minutes left in the contest. While Dorsey was the leading scorer for the Ducks with 13, the team kept looking for the sophomore guard to shoulder the shooting responsibilities and he did so.
“Fortunately, Tyler (Dorsey) offensively really did a great job for us,” comment Altman of Dorsey’s play. “Also, defensively down the stretch I though he really picked it up.”
At one point with Brooks on the bench, the Ducks built a 13-point lead at 54-41 with 12:46 left in the contest. However, Cal kept chipping away at the Ducks’ lead and with 4:24 left in the contest Oregon led by four, 64-60.
The excitement for Cal fans built and with 44 seconds left in the game Oregon was up 67-65, but Oregon scored five points when Dylan Ennis bravely drove inside and scored a lay in and was fouled. Ennis sank the free throw giving the Ducks a 70-65 lead. Then on the next possession a flagrant foul was called on Mullins and Ennis went back the free throw line and he sank both shots. The Ducks got the ball out but failed to convert giving the Bears an opportunity, but Charlie Moore’s 3-point attempt missed and Brooks rebounded the ball and was immediately fouled with two ticks left on the clock. Brooks made one of two free throws allowing the Bears the heave up a full court shot but it fell short and Oregon won the game.
Altman credits Bell’s rebound and defense as key in the second half success.
“Jordan’s 15 rebounds, you know, gave us a plus-2 on the boards and didn’t give them a lot of second opportunities,” Altman said of Bell work inside. “I thought that was a big key, because they got a lot of second opportunities that last time we played them.”
Over all Oregon shot 41.4 percent (24-56) for the game including hitting 7-of-17 3-pointers and were 18-for-23 in free throw shooting.
Besides Dorsey’s 23, the Ducks had contributions for Ennis with 16, while Brooks and Chris Boucher added 10 each.
The Bears shot 42.3 percent for the contest on 22-of-51 shooting including 8-of-15 in 3-point shots. Cal also hit 13-of-21 free throws.
Oregon out rebound Cal 34-32, with both teams tallying seven offensive boards. Oregon had a total of seven blocked shots to Cal’s five.
Oregon now is 29-4 for the season and will play tomorrow night in the championship game against the winner of the Arizona-UCLA game. The championship game tips off at 8 p.m. (PT) and will be carried by ESPN.
Oregon is now 26-14 all-time at the Pac-12 Tournament, including 6-1 as the No. 1 seed, 3-2 against Cal and 13-4 under head coach Dana Altman.
In five Pac-12 Tournament games, Dorsey is averaging 20.6 points and is 14-of-27 (52 percent) from the three-point line. Tonight, was also the first time this season he has scored back-to-back 20 point-plus games.
Bell’s 15 rebounds is the fifth highest number of rebounds recorded in Tournament history.
Ennis hit all nine of his free throw attempts which ties a career high.
The Ducks now have hit at least one 3-pointer in 668 straight games.
Oregon is 92-6 in the last five season when holding opponents under 70 points.
Cal failed to convert on a field goal attempt in the final 2:57 of the game.