After the Oregon Ducks drubbed the Arizona Wildcats on the gridiron Friday night, the Pac-12 landscape shifted. No longer are all eyes pinned to our nation's most destructive sport, but now our nation's third favorite sport. The transition from gridiron to hardwood should go smoothly-especially if the Pac-12 continues to win at the rate they have in football.
Texas A&M 72, Arizona State 71: The Devils are the great mystery of the Pac-12 this season. They sit on the fringe of being either a NCAA or NIT Tournament team, with no real indicator of which way they'll fall. After thoroughly outplaying the Aggies in the first half, the offense went in the tank in the second half and cost them a road win that would have boded well as a résumé booster.
It was once again ASU's bench that did the majority of the scoring, as the trio of Jonathan Gilling, Tra Holder and Bo Barnes outscored the entire starting five. Holder would lead the way with 14 points and five assists, but would have a costly turnover late in the game, as well as missing a three-pointer in the waning moments.
ASU's three losses this season have come by a combined 11 points and have all either been neutral site games or on the road. They should roll four of their next five opponents at home, while also heading to Marquette for a non-conference showdown.
Washington State 91, UTSA 71: Hallelujah! I'm going to write so many nice things about the Cougs today that I'm giddy.
The best part about this win for Wazzu was that it wasn't even this close. After doubling up the Roadrunners at the half, 52-26, they understandably lost a bit of their edge.
At any level, when you score more points than minutes played, chances are that you had a good evening. DaVonte Lacy was clearly not about losing on Saturday, as he banged home eight threes, including going 10-for-15 from the field, while scoring 31 points in just 29 minutes. He was joined from long-range by teammate Ike Iroegbu, who knocked home four threes of his own. As a team, Wazzu went 18-for-30 from three, a season-high of 60 percent.
Rejoice in the streets of Pullman while there is still time-there is that date with Gonzaga come Wednesday night.
#3 Arizona 66, #9 Gonzaga 63 (OT): Just days after anointing Wichita State/Utah the game of the season, it may have already been surpassed by this heavyweight matchup between two giants of college hoops.
Without question, either one of these teams could theoretically be cutting down the nets in Indianapolis in just four months time. For now, the early season slugfest just meant that one of two undefeated teams would be getting their first loss of the year.
A tremendous back and forth contest took place inside the McKale Center with the game tied at halftime, the end of regulation, and almost at the end of overtime. T.J. McConnell would score all six points for the ‘Cats in OT, while Kevin Pangos would hit a three that served as the lone points for the Zags. In the closing seconds, Elliott Pitts fouled Byron Wesley as he took a desperation three to send the game to another extra period. The free throw stripe was not kind to Wesley, who went on air ball the first free throw before missing the second, and third, as Arizona escaped with a nail-biting victory.
While Arizona has a fairly reasonable schedule to navigate before Pac-12 play begins, Gonzaga still has Washington State and UCLA to play in the upcoming days.
Oregon State 65, Portland 58 (OT): There wasn't very much pretty about this contest, but the Beavers gutted out a road win over a better-than-anticipated Pilots team.
Gary Payton II got some help from teammates on Saturday, as Victor Robbins (18 points), Langston Morris-Walker (16 points and six rebounds) and Olaf Schaftenaar (14 points) all outscored the Beaver legacy member, who would still have the best all-around game, going for 12 points and 12 rebounds, including the go-ahead bucket with just over two minutes left in OT.
Neither team shot well from the field, with OSU shooting all of 37 percent and Portland sitting at a paltry 27 percent. Despite assisting on just seven made shots all night, the Beavers escaped with their fifth victory of the season.