Brown headed home for tourney
EUGENE — Troy Brown is headed home.
The Oregon freshman will play at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the first time when the Ducks open the Pac-12 Tournament at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday against Washington State.
“I will be happy to see my family, but right now the focus is basketball,” said Brown, a five-star recruit from Centennial High School in Las Vegas. “I won’t let it be too much.”
As the No. 6 seed in the tournament, Oregon needs to win four games in four days to capture the title. That appears to be the only route into the NCAA Tournament for the Ducks, who finished the regular season at 20-11 overall and 10-8 in the conference.
“Being the underdog is a big thing for me,” Brown said after Oregon defeated Washington 72-64 on Saturday. “I like it a lot. Hopefully we can bring the same energy and continue to play well. Let this win build into next week.”
Brown learned Monday that he was one of five players selected for the conference’s all-freshman team.
The 6-foot-7 Brown averages 1.5 steals per game, first among freshmen and fifth overall in the conference. He also ranks high in rebounds (6.3), third in the class and 16th overall, and points (11.9), sixth among freshman and 27th overall.
In addition, his 95 assists and 72 turnovers gives him a ratio of 1.3 that ranks third among freshmen and 14th in the conference.
Oregon will face Washington State six days after losing 78-76 in the 11th-seeded Cougars’ arena. That was the third win in five games for WSU (12-18, 4-14) following a 1-11 start to conference play, but the Cougars stumbled Saturday in a 92-67 home loss to Oregon State.
“We were not competing at Washington State like I thought we should have,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “They are obviously playing really good. They beat Colorado at home and played Utah tough at home, and then beat Cal. They missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer at Stanford, as I explained to our team a number of times going into that game. I don’t want to take anything away from them. They beat us.”
Oregon defeated Washington State 84-57 at Matthew Knight Arena on Feb. 11. The winner of the third meeting will face third-seeded Utah at 8:30 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals.
“(Beating Washington) was a good way to go into the Pac-12 Tournament, and hopefully we can make a run,” Brown said.