Wildcats beat Ducks for Pac-12 men's title
LAS VEGAS — Allonzo Trier scored 23 points and hit four free throws in the final 17 seconds, helping No. 7 Arizona outlast No. 5 Oregon 83-80 on Saturday night in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game.
Arizona (30-4) lost a lopsided game at Oregon earlier this season on a barrage of 3-pointers by the Ducks. The Wildcats were better defensively while building a 14-point lead and shot 58 percent to hold off Oregon's second-half charge.
Next up for Arizona: A possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Oregon (29-5) got bad news before tipoff, learning senior forward Chris Boucher is out for the season with a torn ACL sustained in the semifinals against California.
The Ducks, last year's Pac-12 champions, struggled in the first half before rallying in a dazzling second half by both teams.
Dillon Brooks carried Oregon through the early struggles and finished with 25 points. Tyler Dorsey added 23.
Oregon ran over Arizona in the team's only meeting during the regular season, hitting 16 3-pointers in an 85-58 victory that was never close.
The Wildcats got one dose of payback in the Pac-12 semifinals by avenging an emotional regular-season loss to No. 3 UCLA and were hoping to do it again against the Ducks.
Oregon had a setback before the game even started with the loss of Boucher, the versatile 6-foot-10 forward who was the team's third-leading scorer and the Pac-12's leading shot blocker.
Arizona took advantage of Boucher's absence by attacking the rim, hitting 13 of 26 shots to lead 35-29 at halftime.
Brooks carried the Ducks almost by himself, scoring 17 first-half points. Unlike the game in Eugene, the Ducks struggled from the perimeter, going 1 of 8 from 3-point range.
Arizona continued to hit shots and disrupt Oregon's offense, pushing the lead to 14 in the opening 4½ minutes of the second half.
The Ducks finally started to hit shots and disrupted Arizona's offensive with full-court pressure, cutting the lead to 60-56 midway through.
Oregon kept hitting shots, but so did Arizona to keep its slim lead. The Wildcats missed four free throws in the final minute to allow Oregon to pull within two, but Trier sealed it with his free throws.
Arizona took down top-10 teams in consecutive games and is playing well at both ends of the floor at just the right time.
Oregon is still a dangerous team, as this game showed, but the loss of Boucher could be huge for its hopes of a deep NCAA Tournament run.
Both teams should be high seeds in the NCAA Tournament.