LAS VEGAS, Nevada — The No. 1 seed Oregon Ducks pulled away from Arizona State, 80-57, in the second half of their Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal match-up. Dillon Brooks dominated with a team-high 22 points. With the victory, the Ducks advance to the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals for a third straight year.
Watch out now, No. 5 Oregon is streaking once again. With their 23-point win against the Sun Devils, UO has won seven consecutive games.
The 2017 Pac-12 Player of the Year lived up to the hype, and then some. Brooks led the way with 22 points. He finished 7-for-13 from the floor, including 3-for-6 from deep. DB registered seven rebounds and three assists.
The Ducks may have started slow, but Brooks was the constant throughout. The Canadian entered the contest averaging 21 points per game over his last nine games.
“We were playing real sluggish,” said Brooks. “Coach gave us energy in the second half.”
Halftime adjustments are vital, just ask Bill Belichick. Dana Altman’s team overwhelmed Arizona State to start the second half with a 12-2 run. The Ducks were focused on rebounding Thursday and it was illustrated in their effort.
Dylan Ennis recorded a career-high 12 rebounds, three on the offensive end. The senior leader finished with 12 boards, seven points and five assists.
Tyler Dorsey not only scored 21 points, but he too recorded a career-high with his nine rebounds. The sophomore guard was all over the floor. He finished 8-for-14 from the field, and 4-for-6 from the charity stripe.
“We had to get those guys (Ennis and Dorsey) to the boards. They hadn't been rebounding for us,” Altman stated.
Payton Pritchard continued his steadiness with eight points, six rebounds and three dimes. The Oregonian concluded his day 3-for-5 from the floor, including 2-for-4 from deep.
"They're an elite team and have the type of defense that's going to keep them in games as they play championship-level basketball," said Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley.
Some Duck fans were nervous entering this contest. ASU not only played UO tough in Eugene, 71-70, but they were coming off a 98-point overtime win against Stanford on Wednesday. Nevertheless, Oregon’s defense is a different animal. Just ask anyone NOT named Torian Graham.
“I thought our guys played pretty hard,” said Altman. “I think they (ASU) ran out of gas. We needed to find a way.”
Torian Graham led all scorers with a 16 points at the break. He drilled four 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes. He finished his career night with a game-high 32 points on 12-for-25 from the floor. He ended his college career in style going 7-for-16 from downtown.
“I don't really want to talk about points because we lost," said Graham. "I just want to talk about the team and the things that we can work on as a team or what they could do to move forward.”
No other Sun Devil registered double figures.
“We fought the dribble really hard on the guards, we didn't do that last time against them,” Brooks said. “We wanted to attack more.”
Entering the halftime locker room, ASU felt the imposing presence of Oregon. The Sun Devils gave the Ducks their best shot, but UO still led, 34-31. ASU knew their second half performance would have to be even better.
“We are very locked in,” Brooks said emphatically. “We’re ready for Utah or Cal. We want to go all the way with this.”
Hurley’s team predictably lives on triples and their zone defense. Once a team starts to break them down, the floodgates open wide. Graham was the lone player keeping ASU afloat.
“It’s hard when it ends, but I’m proud we took a step in the program,” said Hurley.
The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Jordan Bell finished with six boards, six points, two blocked shots and a stolen pass.
Altman used 11 players in his rotation on Thursday afternoon.
Roman Sorkin scored four points off the bench on 2-for-2 shooting from the field.
Chris Boucher recored six points, three boards and a blocked shot off the bench.
No. 1 Oregon (28-4) will face No. 5 Cal (21-11) for the third time this season. The Golden Bears will be trying to avoid the sweep, alongside vying for a spot in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
In their last match-up, Dillon Brooks clinically finished the Bears in Berkeley. His game-winning triple with 0.2 seconds handed UO the win, 68-65, and secured the first part of Oregon’s Bay Area sweep.
Tip is set for 6:00 p.m. PCT on Friday evening from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Set your calendar.
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