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PAC-12 Conference Tournament Results: Ducks outlast Utes in thrilling semifinal

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Oregon and its high flying offense took Utah's best punches all night long. In the end the conference's player of the year issued the final uppercut to push Oregon into Saturday night's title game and a long awaited third crack at the Arizona Wildcats.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

When the PAC-12 conference awards were announced last week ears perked up in Tucson and anywhere else Wildcats Country resides when Joe Young and Dana Altman were named the Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. For those who felt T.J. McConnell was robbed of the player of the year award, last night's semifinal certainly wasn't helping your case.

The man known to many simply as "Mighty Joe" scored 18 of his game high 25 points in the second half including an end-to-end pull up three with a second remaining on the clock to knock off Utah for the second time this season and move a step closer to a PAC-12 tournament championship with a 67-64 victory.

Both teams came out hot exchanging baskets and it appeared the #PAC12AfterDark edition of the semifinals would lead to a high scoring affair. Brandon Taylor carried Utah in the early going finishing the first half with four threes, the last giving Utah a six point edge which was the largest lead either team would hold all night. Yet despite shooting woes for Young and foul trouble for the Ducks in the first half, Oregon trailed only by a point at half.

The second half was the Mighty Joe Young show however, as the Ducks star player who has made a knack for erupting in the second half this tournament, hit an array of shots to push Oregon past Utah with contributions from Elgin Cook and Dillon Brooks. Cook had a key and-one tip-in with two minutes to play to give Oregon a three point lead though Utah wasn't done.

After cutting the lead to two on a pair of Dakarai Tucker free throws, the Utes got a much needed stop on an offensive foul call against Young. At that point it was time for Utah's star player, Delon Wright, to make his mark felt. He calmly sank two clutch free throws after a sketchy Oregon foul sent him to the line for a pair, setting up Young's heroics.

The Ducks win sets up Arizona-Oregon part three and a chance for the Wildcats to redeem a PAC-12 football championship game loss to the Ducks. After two convincing wins over Oregon earlier in the season Arizona enters the conference championship game as a prohibitive favorite but will be getting a Ducks team playing much better basketball than it was the last time these teams faced off.

And who knows? Perhaps Sean Miller, T.J. McConnell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will have something up their sleeves for those who felt they weren't worthy of the conference's postseason awards.