It all came down to two old rivals. Oregon and Washington are two schools that grimace at each other when they meet up, so meeting with the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Championship on the line only added to the drama at T-Mobile Arena.
Getting the automatic bid for Oregon would erase any doubt about getting to the NCAA Tournament. For Washington, getting the automatic bid helps with their seeding in The Big Dance.
The rivalry between these two schools is heated. The teams exchanged some trash talking during the first half of play, the teams exchanged some pushing and shoving, but nothing that escalated out of control.
Duck point guard, Payton Pritchard, who has played well during the Pac-12 Tournament, got things going with getting seven quick points for Oregon. Pritchard finished with 10 of the Ducks 28 first half points. Pritchard set the attitude on the floor for Oregon and the team followed his lead.
Oregon and Washington both went through some droughts in scoring, so the lead on either side never extended into something that bad for the teams.
Washington stayed right with the Ducks in the first half. The Huskies over came some droughts in terms of scoring and some horrific three-point shooting to stay close to the Ducks. Washington shot 18% from three-point land in the first half.
The two rivals headed into halftime with the Ducks up by two by a score 28-26.
Two points and 20 minutes separated the two teams from the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Which team would make the proper adjustments to come away with the win?
Oregon came out with the energy going on a 9-2 run to open the second half of play.
Washington kept shooting from deep and kept missing. With under 12 minutes left in the game, Washington was shooting 14% from three-point land and 36% overall.
Oregon was also feeding off of their fans who came to the Pac-12 Championship Game in force.
The shooting woes the Huskies showed in the first half continued in the second half. Washington had a scoring drought of almost eight minutes and another one that stretched for over a couple minutes. Literally, the Huskies had trouble scoring anything for just about half the second half.
It was the main reason the Huskies found themselves down 50-35 with under seven minutes to go in the game.
With scoring droughts of 7:43, 5:29, and 2:09 it was a wonder that the Huskies got to 40 points in this game.
Pretty simple. You struggle shooting, you struggle to win.
Guess who else kept the pressure on in the second half?
Pritchard made the passes to open teammates, put pressure on the Huskies defensively, and was taking charges. Pritchard even dunked to put a mark on the game he had.
Oregon deserves all the credit for getting their season turned around. The season didn’t start the way the way they had designed, but it’s all about how you finish the season. The Ducks are long, athletic, and have a great point guard in Payton Pritchard.
They will cause some issues for whomever they match up with in the NCAA Tourney.
Oregon is the Pac-12 Tournament Champions with their resounding 68-48 win.
Onto the NCAA Tournament.