In their second meeting of the year with the Oregon Ducks, Arizona was able to withstand a late Oregon run to come away with an 83-80 victory Saturday night in the Pac-12 Championship game in Las Vegas.
After leading by double digits for most of the second half up until the 12-minute mark, Arizona had to stave off a Duck team that would not go away.
But the Ducks just couldn’t get the crucial shot to fall, never being able to draw even with the Wildcats.
They weren’t even really able to get it to a one-possession game until the final minute and a half.
That’s when the going got interesting.
Dillon Brooks made the score 78-75, and after escaping a press, Lauri Markkanen was sent to the line.
He was only able to make one of those.
Oregon couldn’t capitalize on that though, and Parker Jackson-Cartwright found himself at the line shooting two.
But he missed both, and Oregon drew within two thanks to a Jordan Bell layup.
Allonzo Trier was next up at the charity stripe, drained both, giving the Cats a four-point lead.
Tyler Dorsey came back down the court and came up well short on a three-point attempt, essentially sealing Oregon’s fate.
Here are some other main takeaways from the game.
OK, the officiating in this game was abysmal.
There were touch fouls all over the place (with randomly placed whistles to go with them for whatever reason). There were flops bought and not bought. There were major inconsistencies throughout the night.
Even Dillon Brooks turned to the ref after one of his fouls and asked for the ref to “give us one”.
The refs gave Oregon plenty more than the Cats.
Oregon was in this game to the end because of the volume of free throw shooting, and the rate at which they were making those free throws.
In the end, the Ducks went 16-of-20 from the charity stripe, while Arizona was 19-of-25 thanks to the end of game fouling.
Trapping the Three
In the first meeting, Oregon seemingly never missed a three.
This time around was a different story.
The Ducks were just 1-of-8 from beyond the arc in the first half. Arizona wasn’t much better at 2-of-9, but at least they weren’t falling victim to another unprecedented storm of long balls.
Oregon made their rally without the three falling, but did rely on a couple of well-timed ones late in the game to draw ever-so-close to tying the game.
UO’s final numbers are not dissimilar to what UCLA did in the semifinals against Arizona (6-of-22).
Keanu gets the Keys
For the first time all season, Keanu Pinder found himself in the starting lineup. During team intros, there were a lot of shocked faces around T-Mobile Arena when the Aussie was the second Wildcat announced.
The first half of this experiment did not go great, as Pinder drew three fouls in the first five minutes of the game, plus he had a couple of huge lapses on the offensive end.
But Miller stuck with him to start the second half, and it seemed to pay off much like it did in the ASU game. Pinder started the half with a dunk, and his presence on the floor set a new type of energy that the Wildcats don’t typically exhibit. Arizona got out to a 6-0 run to start the half, pushing the lead to double digits for the first time all night.
Dillon, Dorsey Dominate Duck scoring
Earlier in the week, ASU’s Torian Graham put up one of the best scoring performances the Pac-12 Tournament had ever seen.
Dillon Brooks looked like he was going to do better, but didn’t quite pull it off.
He actually got a lot of help from Tyler Dorsey in the second half. Brooks scored 17 of his 25 total points in the first half. Dorsey had just two points at the break, but finished with 23.
If both of them had been able to get going against Arizona’s defense at the same time — like the regular season matchup — this could have gone very poorly. But the Wildcats limited it to just one of them getting hot at a time.