As we head into Selection Sunday, it's time to say goodbye to the Pac-12 Tournament. Arizona winning its first Pac-12 Tournament Championship since 2002 is obviously the most newsworthy story, but the tournament as a whole did not disappoint. From 30-foot game-winners to monster dunks and a shimmy, the Pac-12 Tournament was a blast. Here's a look at how it all went down.
In the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament, we were treated to some upsets, including one that I'm sure Arizona fans got a kick out of. The 12-seeded USC Trojans had an incredible comeback to knock off the 5-seeded Arizona State Sun Devils. The Trojans were trailing 60-46, and then USC's Elijah Stewart had a 9-0 run by himself to cut the deficit to 60-55. About two minutes later USC took the lead and went on to win 67-64. Arizona State scored just four points in the final nine minutes of the game. It also led to this very sad picture of Herb Sendek in the MGM food court.
In what was the opening game of the tournament, 8-seeded Cal absolutely hammered 9-seeded Washington State. The Golden Bears shot 59% from the field and went 8-12 from behind the arc. David Kravish had 25 points and 8 rebounds, and Jordan Matthews had 19 points. Cal won 84-59.
The Washington-Stanford game was much different than the game played by their rivals. Senior Chasson Randle hit a game-winning three pointer with seven seconds left in the game that put Stanford up 71-69. Here's the video:
In the 7-10 game, 10-seeded Colorado trailed for most of game against 7-seeded Oregon State, but we got another upset here. Oregon State's defense, which featured the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Gary Payton II, allowed Colorado to shoot over 50% from the field. The Buffs, led by a 20-point performance by Askia Booker, would go on to win 78-71.
Arizona and Cal would meet for the third time this season, and the result was basically the same. Arizona beat Cal 73-51. The score is actually not really an indicator of how close this game was. The Golden Bears were down by just 10 points with 7:34 left in the game, but Arizona finally pulled away at the end. Stanley Johnson led Arizona with 19 points and 7 rebounds, and Brandon Ashley had 15 points and 7 rebounds. Tyrone Wallace was Cal's leading scorer with 20 points. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tried to dunk on everyone in this game:
Next up was UCLA vs. USC. Coming off a surprising upset against Arizona State, USC would not be as fortunate against UCLA. UCLA's Isaac Hamilton put up a tournament-high 37 points, and he shot 13-17 from the field, and 7-9 from three while doing so. The Bruins as a team shot 60% from the field and from behind the arc. Consequently, UCLA routed their cross-town rival 96-70.
Despite being down at halftime, Oregon came out on fire in the second half against Colorado. The Ducks would go on to score 59 points in the second half, and Pac-12 Player of the Year Joseph Young had a monster game with 30 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.
It looked like Stanford had a shot to upset Utah as the Cardinal had a 39-34 lead heading into halftime. Utah's defense really stepped it up in the second though as they held the Cardinal to just 17 points, and the Utes' offense was able to put up 46 points. Utah ended up winning handily 80-56. Delon Wright had an incredible all-around game with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks, and a steal. Chasson Randle finished with 22 points.
Arizona and UCLA squared off for the second time this season, and the game was eerily similar. Although this time the Wildcats got off to a hot 11-2 start, UCLA outplayed them for the rest of the first half. Bryce Alford hit a three-pointer off an Arizona turnover to tie the game at 27 before halftime.
The Bruins would go up by as much as 7 in the second half, but then Arizona's size and leadership overwhelmed UCLA. T.J. McConnell began dicing up UCLA's defense, and when the Wildcats didn't hit their shots, they were grabbing offensive rebounds. They had 15 offensive rebounds in this one. Brandon Ashley had a career-high 24 points and Norman Powell put up 21 points of his own. Powell was giving the Wildcats a ton of trouble, but luckily they had Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to lock him down in crunch time. The Cats would hang on to win 70-64.
The Oregon-Utah game was a dogfight. The largest lead by either team in this game was just 5 points. Delon Wright made two clutch free throws with seven seconds left in the game to tie things up at 64. So we're headed to OT, right? Wrong. Joe Young showed us why he was Pac-12 Player of the Year when he made a ridiculous game-winning, 30-foot three-pointer to win the game and send the Ducks to the title game:
They did it. They finally did it. Arizona won its first Pac-12 Conference Tournament since 2002. Just like the two previous meetings between these teams, Oregon was no match for the Wildcats. Arizona started off hot and never really looked back. Arizona was up by 15 at halftime and ended up cruising to a 28-point win. It was a total team effort. T.J. McConnell ran the offense beautifully and finished with 12 points, 6 assists, and ZERO turnovers. Stanley Johnson had 14 points, Zeus had 9, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson played lock down defense on Joe Young and had this ridiculous dunk: The shimmy after the dunk was the best.
Brandon Ashley followed up his career-high 24 points with a 20-point performance in this one. He was named as the Pac-12 Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
Most importantly, Arizona shattered the Pac-12 Tournament curse/drought/whatever you want to call it and finally got the job done. And it's nice to celebrate for a little bit, but it's now Selection Sunday and the real season is about the begin.