Five minutes into the 2015 Pac-12 tournament championship between Oregon and Arizona, freshman Dillon Brooks drained a 3-pointer to put the Ducks up 10-4. Then, Arizona took over. As the game went on, the "U of A" chants from the sea of red at the MGM Grand Garden Arena rained down from the stands, reminding everyone who the best team in the conference is.
The Wildcats used a 14-0 scoring run followed by a 10-0 run in the first half to take control, clinching their first conference tournament championship since 2002 with an 80-52 win over Oregon.
Brandon Ashley once again led the way for the Wildcats with 20 points. Last night, Ashley scored 24 to help Arizona defeat UCLA for a spot in Saturday's championship game.
After the Ducks had built up an early 10-4 lead, Gabe York scored five straight points to help spark a 14-0 run for the Wildcats, putting them back in the lead. Last time these two played, York scored 16 points for Arizona in their 90-56 win in Tucson.
Oregon's scoring drought last nearly five minutes before Dillon Brooks drove to the rim for a three-point play. Brooks finished the night with 13 points, with six of those coming from beyond the arc.
Midway through the first half, Brooks and Joseph Young were the only Ducks to have scored before Elgin Cook hit a jumper with 9:48 left in the half. During the drought, Young went cold after scoring the first five points of the game for the Ducks.
Young hit first 2 shots, missed last 5 plus a couple TOs. Understandably may be gassed after 76 mins in 2 games and emotional last night.— Steve Mims (@SteveMims_RG) March 15, 2015
Young did all he could for Oregon, scoring 19 points, but the Wildcats proved to be too much for Oregon once again.
Arizona continued to build up their lead in the first half thanks to controlling the glass. When the Wildcats couldn't get their first shot to go, they'd crash the boards and cash in on second chance opportunities.
Oregon FG pct: 29% Arizona FG pct: 52% Oregon reb: 10 Arizona reb: 21 That's domination right there— Josh Schlichter (@joshschlichter) March 15, 2015
At the half, Arizona led 36-21. If the Wildcats could've just opted to cancel halftime and keep playing, they probably would've done it to keep their momentum going.
In the second half, Joseph Young did everything he could to get the Ducks back into it, scoring seven points in the first eight minutes. However, the Wildcats stayed hot, hitting eight of their first eleven shots of the half to maintain their double-digit lead. Despite Oregon shooting 80 percent to start the half, Arizona actually managed to build their lead even more.
Feels like every time Oregon starts doing things right, Arizona hits a three— Pacific Takes (@PacificTakes) March 15, 2015
The second half was nothing but a formality. Minute by minute, the Wildcats continued to build their lead as the game went on. 15, 20, 25, it just kept getting uglier and uglier. By the end, the "U of A" chants were so loud, you would've thought the game was being played in Tucson.
A win by the Ducks tonight would've been a shocking upset. Arizona is one of the best teams in the nation, and they proved that tonight. Now, Oregon will turn their focus to the NCAA tournament. The Ducks find out their fate tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. PT when the tournament field is unveiled on CBS. Oregon is projected to be somewhere in the range of a 7-10 seed.
There's no getting around the fact this was an ugly loss, but the fact that the Ducks, picked to finish eighth in the conference, made it to the Pac-12 tournament championship is nothing short of a miracle. Now, it's time to dance.