LAS VEGAS, Nevada — No. 5 Oregon (29-4, 16-2) is headed to the Pac-12 Tournament championship after taking down California (21-12, 10-8) on Friday at T-Mobile Arena, 73-65, behind 23 points from Tyler Dorsey.
“My teammates were finding me in great spots,” said Dorsey, who finished 5-of-6 from distance. “I caught the hot hand and was just letting it fly. It was just one of those games. I hit the first couple twos, threes, and then the basket seemed wide for me.”
Dorsey helped the first-seeded Ducks storm back from a sluggish first half, wherein the fifth-seeded Golden Bears led the majority of the time. Cal was seemingly unstoppable from distance, which made the difference early on.
The Golden Bears pushed their lead to as many as five down the stretch, thanks to back-to-back threes from Grant Mullins (23p) with about five minutes remaining, 29-24.
That’s when the Ducks got hot — specifically Dorsey, who highlighted a 12-4 run to end the period with a pair of baskets.
UO carried 36-33 edge into the second stanza, where Dorsey continued to light up the floor. The sophomore guard connected on two of the Ducks’ first three field goals, as they went on to extend their lead to as many as 13, 54-41.
“We knew we had to calm down in the second half and buckle down on the defensive end, and that’s what we did,” Dorsey said. “It was just a hard-fought grimy battle, and we pulled it out.”
Dorsey capped the 18-8 burst with his fourth straight triple before the Bears scored seven in a row. Again, Dorsey stepped up, halting the mini-run with his fifth trey of the night, 57-48.
Soo...@TDORSEY_1 is five-for-five from behind the arc so far for @OregonMBB. #Pac12Hoops: https://t.co/ZLABag9Ytthttps://t.co/hcDVwtr1xe— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) March 11, 2017
Cal continued to chip away, with Ivan Rabb (11p, 7r) leading a late rally. The potential lottery pick pulled the Golden Bears within a possession with a highly-contested jumper at the 2:57 mark, 66-63.
.@calmensbball ISN'T GOING ANYWHERE!— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) March 11, 2017
Tune in. Right now. Trust us.#Pac12Hoops: https://t.co/ZLABag9Ytthttps://t.co/n9fYjjLV5C
Dylan Ennis (16p, 5a) all-but-secured the game, connecting on the and-one after driving straight to the basket for a falling hook shot with 22 seconds to go, 69-65.
OHBOYOHBOYOHBOY— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) March 11, 2017
Dylan Ennis grabs a HUGE and-one for @OregonMBB!#Pac12Hoops: https://t.co/ZLABag9Ytthttps://t.co/lEw6jOKVdL
UO will play the winner of the UCLA-Arizona game, which tips off from T-Mobile Arena at 8:30 p.m. PT, viewable on ESPN.
“We’re going to prepare for the winner,” Dorsey said. “We want the back-to-back.”