WSU men's basketball can't hold big lead, falls in Pac-12 tournament

Tricia Pearson
March 12, 2017

The final change came on a three-pointer by OR junior forward Dillon Brooks, giving the top-seeded Ducks a 34-31 lead at halftime, with promise for more tightly contested basketball in the final 20 minutes.

The Wildcats knocked off top-seeded OR, 83-80, in the championship game of the conference tournament on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.

Washington, holding an RPI of 202 entering the day, played without potential No. 1 National Basketball Association draft pick Markelle Fultz for a fourth straight game. No. 5 seed Cal. The NCAA tournament bracket will be revealed on Sunday. Again, if UCLA is playing defense at the level at which they are capable of, they will win just about any game. "We were able to get enough stops and hold them to (39) percent shooting".

Bam Adebayo had 10 points and nine rebounds to send top-seeded Kentucky (28-5) to Sunday's championship game against the victor of the other semifinal between Vanderbilt and Arkansas. The senior guard was great as usual, finishing with 12 points in the tournament finale. The Bruins lost to OR on a buzzer beater in December, and then lost back to back games to Arizona and USC in January.

Oregon State opened the game by making three of its first four shots from 3-point range and hounded Cal defensively.

"They were offensive juggernauts tonight", Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. T.J. Leaf scored 14 points in his return after missing a game with a left ankle injury, and Thomas Welsh added 11 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out. "The coaches do a good job getting us ready for the game. It doesn't feel good". Colorado defeated three top-25 teams, including No. 10 OR, but a seven-game losing streak to open Pac-12 play dashed any realistic chance of earning a bid to the big dance. "We are going to miss Chris a lot, but we still have a season and March Madness to take care of".

"It was brutal. I hate that I was on the bench", Berry said.

But other players need to step up as well.

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Arizona senior Kadeem Allen fielded questions from myself and Arizona Daily Star reporter Bruce Pascoe after Friday night's win over UCLA. Graham's free throw cut the lead to 60-52 with 7:17 to go.

With 5:25 left in the game the play was fast and furious.

"Just taking whatever the defense gave me", Dorsey said. "I just wish I was out there to help them and be able to compete, but it got taken away".

"I guess they're upset I called a timeout at their place", Alford said after the game. Jordan Bell scored four straight points to get OR within 58-52 and following a basket by Trier, Dorsey and Ennis scored to cut the lead to 60-56.

Why they'll fall short " Their guards can be streaky shooters if they fall in love with 3-point shooting, and they're average on the defensive glass and at the free throw line. Dime made a putback to make it 76-73 with 22 seconds remaining, and after USC guard Shaqquan Aaron missed a pair of free throws, Crisp fired a 3-point attempt that could have tied the score.

OR entered the game in the face of adversity.

Ball struggled with foul trouble in the quarterfinals against USC and wasn't much of a factor in the first half against Arizona, with as many turnovers (four) as points and assists combined.

The loss ends what was an up and down season for ASU in Hurley's second season at the helm, but the coach is confident with where his program is now and where it's heading.

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