LAS VEGAS — Arizona’s incomprehensible 13-year Pac-12 Tournament championship drought ended emphatically Saturday night.
Forward Brandon Ashley scored a game-high 20 points as the No. 5 Wildcats made their case for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, routing Oregon 80-52 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Forward Stanley Johnson added 14 points and point guard T.J. McConnell contributed 12 points and six assists as Arizona (31-3) dismantled Oregon (25-9) for the third time this season. They won by 18 in Eugene on Jan. 9 and 34 in Tucson on Jan. 28.
Guard Joseph Young, whose 25-foot 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left Friday night beat Utah, paced Oregon with 19 points. Forward Dillon Brooks chipped in 13.
Ducks coach Dana Altman termed it a “bad matchup” for his team Friday night because of the Wildcats’ size and he was proved correct. Oregon simply had a tough time finding decent looks, much less scoring, for most of the game.
While the Ducks sank 40 percent of their shots from the field, the Wildcats made 54.5 percent, including 62.5 percent after halftime. Arizona dominated on the boards to the tune of 37-20 and had assists on 17 of their 30 field goals.
Oregon got off to a 10-4 lead as Brooks stuck a 3-pointer at the 14:46 mark. Arizona started the game just 2 of 8 from the field and committed three turnovers on its first eight possessions.
But the Wildcats got it going soon enough, ripping off 14 straight points as reserve guard Gabe York contributed a runner and a 3-pointer. The Ducks fanned on eight straight possessions and couldn’t find much footing for the half’s remainder.
Leading 22-17 after a layup by Oregon forward Elgin Cook, Arizona rattled off 10 consecutive points, getting consecutive 3s from forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and York to end the spurt. The Wildcats took a 36-21 advantage into intermission.
NOTES: Friday night’s 70-64 win over UCLA marked the first time in program history that Arizona has won 30 games in consecutive seasons. … Oregon entered the game with a 3-0 mark in conference championship games, having won in 2003, 2007 and 2013. … The Wildcats entered play Saturday as one of just three teams in the top 15 nationally in offensive and defensive efficiency. Kentucky and Villanova are the others.
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