Thrills and Upsets on Day Two of the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament

March 9, 2012

Pac-12 Tournament 2012
Tri Le / The Daily Sports Herald

Los Angeles – On a day where all four of the top seeds – Washington, California, Oregon, and Arizona – could not afford to lose at the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament, some teams came out and solidified their postseason position, while others will now have to sweat out Selection Sunday to see whether they will be playing in the NCAA tournament.

Washington (#1) vs. Oregon St. (#9)

Oregon State, the only lower-seeded team to win its opening round game, withstood Washington's 33-12 run at the start of the second half, and hung on to win 86-84 over the top-seeded Huskies. The victory marked the first time Oregon State has won two games in the Pac-10/Pac-12 Tournament since 1988.

Oregon State built a 46-33 advantage behind hot-shooting Ahmad Stark's 3 for 3 three point shooting in the first half, but then saw their lead steadily evaporate in large part because of Washington's Tony Wroten, who finished with game-high 29 points.

However, Wroten, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, missed two critical free throws that proved to be the difference.

On the other hand, Jared Cunningham – who also missed three of four critical free throws at the end of the game – did just enough, making the go-ahead basket with 31 seconds left in the game to take the lead for good at 85-84.

Beaver coach Craig Robinson, indicated that he couldn’t be more proud of how his team keep battling throughout the game and the season, and credited Cunningham for his leadership, stating, “your best player has to help you win these kinds of games.”

He then added of Cunningham, “He won the game with his play.” Cunningham, who finished with 18 points, played every minute of the game.
Tri Le / The Daily Sports Herald

Arizona (#4) vs. UCLA (#5)

In a battle of preseason favorites, Arizona did just enough to win the game, 66–58.

The Wildcats prevailed despite the suspension of Josiah Turner, as they leaned heavily on upperclassmen Kyle Fogg, Solomon Hill, and Jesse Perry. Solomon Hill, in particular, turned in a game-high 25 points and 12 rebounds.

Arizona – which lost a pivotal game on the last day of the regular season by giving up 87 points to Arizona State – played excellent defense throughout the game and forced UCLA into foul trouble in the second half. Two members of UCLA’s large frontline, Travis Wear and Joshua Smith, fouled out, turning the advantage clearly to Arizona’s direction.

Arizona shot 36 free throws (UCLA had 16), making 31 of them.

Tri Le / The Daily Sports Herald
Despite UCLA’s foul trouble, the Bruins were able to keep the game close and tied it at 51-51 with 6:21 left in the game on a Jerime Anderson three point shot. However, after a timeout, Arizona went on a decisive 7-0 run to take a lead they would not relinquish.

Wildcat coach Sean Miller summed up how his team’s chances are dependent upon its upperclassmen leaders, stating, “Tomorrow, at the end of the game we either win by our performance and their performance, or we won’t. But these three guys are, like I said, the heart and soul of what we do.”

Arizona meets Oregon State in the first semifinal game on Friday.

California (#2) vs. Stanford (#7)

California, which lost its last two games, including one to the same Stanford team on the last day of the regular season, went out and took care of business with a 77-71 win, solidifying their status as an NCAA Tournament team.
Tri Le / The Daily Sports Herald

California struggled early and fell behind at the half to Stanford, as the Cardinal were spurred by senior Andrew Zimmerman’s career-high 22 points.

However, led by conference Player of the Year Jorge Gutierrez's 22 points and 7 assists, the Bears matched Stanford’s physicality and prevailed thanks to an 11-2 run with five minutes left in the game. Gutierrez had 5 points in that run put the game out of reach.

As fellow senior Harper Kemp put it, “Yeah, that’s the kind of play that we expect from Jorge. It’s not surprising.” Of his impressions of the game, he also added, “I think we prepared pretty well this week, and it helped playing through that physical play.”

Oregon (#3) vs. Colorado (#6)

In what turned out to be the most exciting game of the day, Colorado beat Oregon 63-62, when the Ducks' Devoe Joseph missed a shot at the buzzer.

Tri Le / The Daily Sports Herald
Colorado led by as much as 58-50 at the 7:28 mark of the second half, but found themselves behind after a 10-0 Ducks' run with 2:45 left in the game.

However, the Buffs kept their composure and overcame captain Austin Dufault's foul trouble, winning the game down the stretch with their defense. And when Andre Roberson came up with an offensive rebound and a layup with 10 seconds left, it sent, without question, the loudest student section in the tournament into delirium.

Colorado Coach Tad Boyle commented about the game, “It was just a great college basketball game by two teams [going] toe to toe.” He also added later, “So, it’s a gratifying feeling this time of the year to win a game like that.”

Senior Carlon Brown led Colorado with 18 points, while Oregon was paced by junior Tony Woods' 14 points.

Colorado next faces California, the likely favorite to win the tournament after Washington and Oregon's upset losses.

By Christian Siagian
Contributing Writer for The Daily Sports Herald

No comments:

Post a Comment

We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...