Arizona: After winning both match-ups a week prior, Arizona hosted the Oregon schools last week. Thursday night the Beavers were in town and Arizona came away with a 89-63 win behind Josh Green’s 18 points. Free-throws were a big part of the win as the Wildcats made 10 more than the Beavers. However free-throws would haunt them Saturday night against the Ducks in a hard fought top-25 battle. With just over one second left in overtime Christian Koloko missed two free throws down by one point. The loss puts the Wildcats at 9-5 in Pac-12 play and a full game behind Arizona State for first place with four games remaining. Thursday they hit the road to face USC Thursday and UCLA Saturday.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils are the hottest team in the Pac-12 and maybe even the country. Thursday night they hosted the 14th ranked Ducks and took control early. Rob Edwards scored 24 and Alonzo Verge Jr scored 26 as ASU’s offense could not be slowed down in a 77-72 win. Saturday night the Sun Devils survived a back and forth battle with Oregon State that would have six ties and 12 lead changes. The win not only gave ASU a seven games win streak but also put them in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12. Thursday they face off with a red hot UCLA team and then USC on Saturday on the road.
California: Matt Bradley scored 11 points in a win against Washington State on Thursday. It was his 25th game this season scoring in double figures. After coming off the bench last year in his freshmen season he has been one of the conferences most consistent scorers this year. Saturday he would be the lone bright-spot for the Bears offense as he doubled the scoring output of any his teammates in a disappointing 87-52 loss against the Huskies. Cal is 5-9 in conference play and in a three way tie for eighth place. They will host a Colorado team that needs a win on Thursday and Utah on Saturday.
Colorado: The Buffaloes stay as the top team in the Pac-12 would prove to be short. Thursday against USC they would storm back from a 14-point halftime deficit to pick a 70-66 victory. Tyler Bey picked up his 11th double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The fall from the top spot in the conference would come against UCLA Saturday. They held a nine-point lead with just over 12 minutes to play but dropped the lead and eventually the game with a 70-63 loss. Colorado has three games left with the next being at Cal on Thursday and at Utah on Saturday. At 10-5 in Pac-12 play they are tied for second in the conference, a half game back from first.
Stanford: Tyrell Terry and Oscar de Silva combined for 30 points in a win against Washington to get the Cardinal back on track Thursday. They would carry that momentum into a 75-57 blowout win against Washington State. After a scary fall two weeks ago De Silva looks to be in full health. They look to hold to the seventh spot this week as they host Utah and Colorado.
Oregon: The road woes for the Ducks continued in Tempe, as they could not complete the comeback against Arizona State Thursday. Although he hit big shots late after struggling in the first half, Payton Pritchard fouled out late to seal the Ducks defeat. The battle with Arizona on Saturday would take an extra period to crown a victor. After the Wildcats missed key free throws down the stretch, Will Richardson made an amazing wrap around pass to Shakur Juiston to take the lead 73-72 with just seconds left. Payton Pritchard scored a career-high 38 points in the signature victory. The Ducks face the Beavers of Oregon State in their lone match-up Thursday. They are tied for second in the Pac-12 currently.
Oregon State: The Beavers could not pull off the upset on the road against Arizona Thursday. Jarod Lucas scored a team-high 18 points in the 89-63 loss. They would go on to lose a nail-biter against Arizona State two days later. The Beavers went down 74-68 with 2:31 left and would score the game’s final five points to go down one but couldn’t get the game winning bucket at the finish to lose 74-73. At 5-10 Oregon State is in 11th place and faces Oregon Thursday.
UCLA: Mick Cronin’s squad has figured it out after a rough first half of the season. After beating Utah 69-58 on Thursday to win four straight, they went in to Boulder and beat the Buffaloes 70-63. The very talented roster seems to have melded at the right time. Now in a three-way tie for second place, the Bruins have a big week coming up. They will host Arizona State Thursday, and Arizona Saturday and can potentially take over the lead in the Pac-12.
USC: The Trojans got Onyeka Okongwu back from a concussion but it wasn’t enough against Colorado. He would however break the school record for blocks by a freshmen. After losing in dramatic fashion the Trojans looked drained as they were shocked by Utah 79-65. It’s not too late for USC despite the losses as they are currently 8-6 and two games off the lead. They look to climb against two tough opponents at home this week, facing Arizona Thursday and ASU Saturday.
Utah: A late rally would not be enough for the Utes Thursday against UCLA. Alfonso Plummer scored a team-high 16 points in the loss.. They would pull of a surprise upset against USC on Saturday, behind Plummer tying a career-high 18 points. The junior had his most impressive week of the season. The Utes are eighth in the conference at 5-9. They face Stanford Wednesday and Cal Saturday.
Washington: Isaiah Stewart’s impressive freshmen campaign continued as he set the school record for blocks and rebounds as a freshmen. His 14 points would not be enough, dropping the game to Stanford for the Huskies dropped their ninth straight. The losing streak would finally come to an end against Cal Saturday. The 87-52 blowout win might be the boost this team needs to finish the season. Their currently last in the Pac-12 and sit two games being OSU for the 11th spot. They face Washington State this Friday.
Washington State: The Cougars were without guard Isaac Bonton and it showed against Cal Thursday. Struggling to find open shots was the biggest hole in WSU’s offense and Cj Elleby was held to just 13 points. Elleby would get it going against Stanford with 22 points and 10 rebounds but it wasn’t enough as the Cougs lost their fourth straight. The lone match-up of the week will be in Seattle against the Huskies Friday.
~ Shane Potter