Unheralded Players to Watch in the Pac-12 TournamentBy Kristina Tyler Mar 10, 2017
Arizona State (15-17) shot 56 percent and made 10 of 22 from 3-point range, yet couldn't shake the Cardinal (14-17) in regulation.
What that means is that the victor of the Pac-12 Tournament, more than likely, is going to earn that top-two spot in the West, and the two other contenders will be shipped out as 2 and 3 seeds in other regionals. No. 5 OR opens the event against Arizona State in Las Vegas, Nev.
Ultimately, the game will be decided by Reid Travis. Junior guard Tra Holder contributed 21 points for the Sun Devils.
Seeding: Oregon is now projected to be a No. 2 seed in the West bracket, but a dominating performance in the Pac-12 tourney could help make a case for the No. 1 seed.
"It shows the character and the determination of my team and the heart of my team to rebound from being tied at the end there. and to respond and be able to keep playing well and putting them away", Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said.
"Coming into Vegas, everybody's zero and zero", said senior guard Jabari Bird, who led the Bears with 20 points.
Arizona State (15-18) matched OR nearly shot for shot in the first half before succumbing to the Ducks' length and pressure in the second.
Ball was named the Pac-12's Freshman of the Year and was a first-team all-conference performer who is averaging 14.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 7.8 assists, 2.0 steals and shooting 55 percent.
The two players who have been at the top of most 2017 National Basketball Association mock drafts - UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball and Washington point guard Markelle Fultz - are part of the tournament field. The two have helped OR become the only team in the league to rank in the top three in both offense and defense.
They did in again two weeks later, scoring the final seven points, this time in 29.1 seconds, to beat USC on February 26.
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The Beavers missed 10 free-throws and lost by 5.
"I think whoever does win the tournament will be the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the West", Oregon coach Dana Altman said.
Oregon State was trying to become the first school to win consecutive conference tournament titles since Stanford's run of seven straight from 2007-13. With a loaded roster led by Bryce Alford, T.J. Leaf, and Lonzo Ball, the Bruins had the best offense in the nation this season, averaging 91.3 points per game. They beat the Devils and took home some hardware! "When we only do two of those things, games are pretty close".
This week's Pac-12 men's basketball tournament is perhaps the most star-studded of the conference tournaments.
Wiese led Oregon State with 13 points. The seventh-seeded Buffaloes whittled into the lead by halftime and overtook the Cougars in the second behind White, who made 8 of 15 shots.
UCLA, seeded third in the conference tournament, faces Southern California in the quarterfinals at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
UCLA bounced back from a pair of losses in late January to finish the regular season on a 9-0 SU and 4-5 ATS run. Charles Callison and Ike Iroegbu scored 16 points each, and Josh Hawkinson had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Pac-12 Player of the Year Dillon Brooks scored Oregon's last 12 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:32 remaining.
Any concern that the Wildcats would struggle without star guard Allonzo Trier in the lineup was forgotten when Allen went coast-to-coast for the game-winning shot against Michigan State on the opening day of the college hoops season.
In the final Pac-12 conference standings, the Utah Utes finished at 20-10 (11-7).
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