Huskies eliminated from Pac-12 Tournament
LAS VEGAS (AP) – The Oregon Ducks got caught up in Washington’s in-your-face style, playing at a speed even they couldn’t handle.
Once they slowed it down to their usual breakneck pace, the Ducks were able to wear the Huskies down.
Chris Boucher had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 8 Oregon withstood Washington’s early aggressiveness and a late flurry to hold off the Huskies 83-77 in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals Thursday.
”We knew they were going to try to get up in our space and deny us,” said Oregon’s Elgin Cook, who had 19 points. ”We were all sped up at first, and I just wanted to tell everybody to calm down and keep their composure.”
Top-seeded Oregon (26-6) got off to a sluggish start, but built an 11-point lead midway through the second half. Andrew Andrews brought the Huskies back, scoring 10 of his 19 points during a quick flurry to help eighth-seeded Washington (18-14) pull within two late.
The Ducks held, though, hitting four free throws in the final 33 seconds to earn a spot in Friday night’s semifinals against No. 15 Arizona or Colorado.
Tyler Dorsey scored 17 points and Dillon Brooks added 15 for the Ducks, who had a 46-33 rebounding advantage.
”We had bad turnovers today. We didn’t make very good decisions. We’ll have to clean that up,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. ”But our effort on the boards, I think, was the difference in the game. We were able to make just enough plays to get by.”
Washington’s comeback bid came up short and so did its chance to get into the NCAA Tournament bracket.
Realistically, the Huskies needed to win the tournament and losing in the quarterfinals all but assures they’ll be in the NIT. Still, a postseason bid after being picked 11th in the Pac-12 isn’t a bad consolation.
Marques Chriss scored 19 points Washington.
”I thought we probably surpassed a lot of people’s expectations,” Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said. ”In terms of our own expectations, we felt we could go a little bit further than we did. But it wasn’t due to a lack of trying and selling out for the cause of what we wanted to do.”
The Ducks closed the regular season strong, winning their final five games for their first conference title since 2002. One of those finishing wins was against Washington on Feb. 28, when Cook scored 26 points in the 86-73 victory.
The Huskies put a dent in their NCAA Tournament hopes by limping to the finish, but kept a glimmer of hope alive with a rout over Stanford in the tournament’s opening round.
Washington got off to fast start against the Cardinal and kept rolling against Oregon, hitting 10 of its first 13 shots – four of those 3s – to go up 26-14.
Oregon was ragged early, forcing shots and passes in traffic, riling coach Dana Altman with numerous defensive breakdowns.
The Ducks settled down and started flying, harassing the Huskies into difficult shots, scoring in transition after turnovers and misses during an 11-0 run that helped them take a 39-38 halftime lead.
But after all the 3-pointers and soaring dunks, the second half turned into a defensive wrestling match, with bodies hitting the floor nearly every trip.
The Ducks gained a little separation midway through, when Dorsey hit a 3 and Dwayne Benjamin scored on a three-point play to put Oregon up 64-54.
Andrews brought the Huskies back. He hit a pair of 3-pointers and turned a steal into a pair of free throws that cut Oregon’s lead to 71-69 with 5 minutes left.
Washington kept the Ducks within reach from there, but never could catch them.
”To look at this season as a failure would be kind of dumb on our part,” Andrews said. ”So you just take everything and learn from it. We had an incredible season. I said, we beat all the odds as far as what the media thought and what the coaches poll thought. So I couldn’t be prouder of the guys in this locker room.”
Oregon: Boucher became the first player in Pac-12 history with 100 blocked shots and 30 3-pointers in a season. … The Ducks had a 17-8 edge in offensive rebounds.
Washington is likely headed to the NIT.
Oregon will face No. 15 Arizona or Colorado in the semifinals Friday night.