Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Recapping the first set of this week's Pac-12 basketball games and their impact on each team.
After a strong non-conference showing and an impressive win over Oregon State in Corvallis it appeared that Oregon might be making a run back to the top of the conference. After last night's huge win over Arizona , it is now clear that the Ducks will be a major player for the conference title. While Oregon's win over previously undefeated Arizona was the highlight of the first half of this week's set of Pac-12 games, it certainly wasn't the only interesting one.
Stanford 78 Washington State 67
The Cardinal earned their first conference victory of the year with a tough win at home over Washington State in a game that was tight until Stanford pulled away at the very end. The Cardinal used a hot shooting night outside (8-12 for 3) and the stripe (24-26 FTs) to overcome a huge night from Brock Motum who poured in 29 points.
The win was huge for the Cardinal after getting swept in LA last week and the loss puts the Cougars in a tough spot heading into their game against Cal.
Washington 62 Cal 47
The Huskies played their best game of the year in Berkeley by playing energetic defense and playing with patience on offense. The Huskies didn't shoot well, but attacked the rim and destroyed the Bears on the glass with 42 rebounds to Cal's 28. The Huskies got a breakout performance from big man Aziz N'Diaye who scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds but most importantly blocked 4 shots and was an intimidating presence in the paint all night.
Opening with the season with two impressive road wins at Washington State and now Cal, the Huskies look like they may be able to string together another good conference run despite struggling in their non-conference schedule. The Bears looked horrible in the loss and now really must beat Washington State in their game to avoid getting swept at home by the Washington schools.
Oregon 70 Arizona 66
The Ducks used hot outside shooting and a LeBron-like all-around stellar game by E.J. Singler (14 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals) to get a huge win over the previously undefeated Wildcats in Eugene. Before a raucous home crowd that has now seen the Ducks win 17-straight at home, the Ducks shot well from the outside (7-11 from 3) and withstood a late rally from Arizona that cut a 12-point lead to just three with only a minute to go to get the program's biggest win in years.
The win is huge for Oregon and will push the Ducks into the Top 25 if they can beat Arizona State. While the Wildcats weren't expected to go undefeated, the loss has to be alarming for Arizona as they have yet to impress in any of their conference games thus far and could easily be 0-3 in the Pac-12.
UCLA 57 Utah 53
It was a third-straight heartbreaking loss for the Utes as they just couldn't make the shots late in the game to get past the Bruins. The Utes trailed by 11 at the half, but had chances to tie and take the lead in the final minutes. The Bruins had a very balanced effort, getting 12 points from Travis Wear, Larry Drew II and Jordan Adams and the Utes were lead by another good performance by Jason Washburn who had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bruins remained undefeated in-conference and proved that they can get a tough win on the road with the win. The Utes continued to show that they are much improved and can play with anyone in the conference now, but are still 0-3 in the Pac-12 at the end of the day and now desperately need to beat USC.
Colorado 66 USC 60
The Buffs got a much needed win and remained undefeated at home as they ran out to a 15-point lead at halftime and then kept the Trojans at a comfortable distance the rest of the way. The Buffs did a lot of their damage by attacking the basket and getting to the line for 26 free throws while USC only went to the line 6 times. However, the most interesting part of the game may have been the unexplained removal of Andre Roberson from the starting line-up as he spent the first few minutes of the game on the bench.
Colorado needed this win badly after getting swept in Arizona and are starting to look like a force at home. It's a slow build for the Trojans and they were able to tighten the game late, but moral victories will only suffice in LA for so long.
Arizona State 72 Oregon State 62
The Sun Devils pulled away from the Beavers in the second half in Corvallis and ended up with a huge win led by an 18 point and 14 rebound performance by Carrick Felix along with a 20 point effort from Jahii Carson. The Beavers would rally to get it within four points in the final minutes, but couldn't get any closer as the Sun Devils moved to 3-0 in conference play.
The Sun Devils continued to surprise and impress with their third-straight conference win, with this one coming on the road while the Beavers are now starting to look like they might be in trouble, dropping their first two Pac-12 games at home.