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Young leads second half charge over Buffaloes as Ducks advance to Pac-12 tournament semifinals

Oregon's press proves to be too difficult for Colorado to overcome.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Joseph Young showed why he was voted the Pac-12 Player of the Year as he scored 30 points and led the Ducks over Colorado. Oregon beat the Buffaloes 93-85 and the key stat was points off of turnovers: Oregon had 25 more points off of turnovers than Colorado. Young also had a monster seven rebounds and got his teammates involved adding four assists to his stat line.

The last time Oregon and Colorado faced each other was on February 18, the Ducks won the game 73-60 and Young dropped 23 points against the Buffaloes. Just like the matchup in February, Colorado jumped out to a fast lead as the Buffs were up 14-6 heading into the first media timeout. A majority of Oregon’s early shots were forced and contested.

Altman changed up the defense and once play resumed the Ducks began to press. The defensive switch worked out for Oregon and Dwayne "Snoop Dogg" Benjamin made a highlight play after getting a steal and then throwing it down to cut the Ducks deficit to two.

Oregon eventually switched out of their press and it allowed the Buffaloes to extend their lead to 26-17 with a little under eight minutes left in the half. Elgin Cook helped the Ducks out with possibly the shot of the night. Cook’s shot skimmed the top of the backboard and dropped in the hoop. After Cook’s layup the Ducks hit three consecutive three-pointers and helped Oregon get their first lead of the game. The first Oregon three-pointer came from Jalil Abdul-Bassit, the Ducks missed their first eight attempts from beyond the arc. On Colorado’s following possession they turned it over and Young connected on a three-pointer that tied the game up at 31-31. Colorado took control of the half in the last minute and went into intermission leading 37-34.

As second half play began Jordan Bell picked up his third foul of the game in the first couple minutes of the half. Casey Benson scored the only points off the bench for the Ducks, which put a heavy burden on Young and the starters. Oregon was strongest in transition and it helped Oregon extend their lead. After a Oregon steal, Young had an uncontested dunk and Benson stole the following inbound pass. Benson quickly passed it to Benjamin who had another easy slam.

Oregon started to pick up the pace and pushed their lead to 15 after a few dunks by Benjamin and  Brooks. Bell fouled out with 7:45 left in the game. The Ducks couldn’t hold onto their lead and after a pair of free throws and a three-pointer, Colorado cut the Oregon lead to four as the Ducks lead 80-76. Benjamin took control of the game and hit four free throws to put the game out of reach; he finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.

Cook scored 20 points and Benson scored all five of the Ducks bench points. For Colorado Josh Scott had 16 points and Dominique Collier scored 14 points. The Ducks will play the winner of Utah and Stanford tomorrow night around 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. If Oregon was anyones bubble they should be safely in the tournament after this win. These last two games will help Oregon achieve a higher ranking and an easier first round opponent.