Runnin’ Through The Pac – Week 3

Arizona: The Wildcats went into their Oregon road trip riding high, ranked 24th in the country and looking to make a splash on a nationally televised game against the Ducks. Unfortunately for the young Arizona team, they fell short in an overtime thriller 74-73. Nico Mannion had 20 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists in a battle of two of the best point guards in the Pac-12 with Payton Pritchard.

There may have been a hangover from the overtime grind in Corvallis against the Beavers where Sean Miller’s squad lost 82-65. Shooting was the issue for the Wildcats as they shot under 40 percent from the field and under 30 percent from beyond the arc. Next up they host Colorado on Thursday and Utah on Saturday.

Arizona State: Remy Martin was electric as they Sun Devils went into Gill Coliseum and came out with a 82-76 victory against the Beavers Thursday. Martin finished the game with 24 points leading the way as the Arizona State shot 50 percent from downtown, holding off Oregon State who scored 51 second half points. Bobby Hurley must have been happy with his defense’s effort as they totaled 10 steals.

On Saturday in Eugene, however, it was a different story. Martin attempted to will his team to victory but fell short, as he scored 29 points. There was only one other Sun Devil in double figures. The battle on the boards went to the Ducks 37-28. ASU hosts Colorado Thursday and Utah Saturday.

California: In the Golden Bears’ home Pac-12 opener against Washington State on Thursday they picked up their first conference win 73-66. Efficiency was the key to victory as Cal shot over 50 percent from the floor. Matt Bradley’s talent was on full display as he totaled 26 points on 10-14 shooting, to go along with 10 rebounds.

On Saturday the Bears completed the sweep with a victory over the Washington Huskies in a knockdown, drag out overtime battle. Bradley led the way again, filling up the stat sheet with 13 points and seven rebounds as well as three assists and a steal. It was a balanced attack against the suffocating zone defense from the Huskies, as nine different players scored for Cal. This week they travel to Los Angeles to play USC Thursday and UCLA Saturday.

Colorado: The Buffaloes came out with something to prove Sunday against Utah after suffering a surprise loss against Oregon State last week. Colorado answered the bell with a rout over the Utes 91-52. Star guard McKinley Wright was amazing tallying 16 points with only one missed shot, as well as seven rebounds and eight assists.  Tad Boyle had his team ready to go out of the gate leading the game 44-22 at the half. They will look to continue that momentum as they hit the road to face ASU on Thursday and Arizona Saturday.

Oregon: Will Richardson made his name known on the national level Thursday against Arizona. While Pritchard sealed the game in overtime with an impressive fade away in the closing minute, Richardson did a little bit of everything to keep the Ducks in the game. The sophomore finished the game with 21 points, five rebounds, four assists a steal and a block.

Saturday night was a battle of two point guards Pac-12 fans had been waiting for as Pritchard and Martin both tallied 29 points. The key for the Ducks getting the 78-69 win was shooting from downtown. Chris Duarte shot the ball especially well totaling 20 points going 4-8 from 3-point territory. Oregon was awful from the charity stripe yet again, shooting just 60 percent as a team. Dana Altman and his Ducks travel to Pullman to play WSU on Thursday and Seattle to play Washington on Saturday in a rivalry game.

Oregon State: The Beavers were outplayed by Arizona State last Thursday in a close game, 82-76. The bench for the Beavers only tailed 12 points as a continued theme of the season. Tres Tinkle and Ethan Thompson both finished with 22 points, but it was not enough to stop Martin and the Sun Devils. However, three days later in a matchup with Arizona, Wayne Tinkle and the Beavers surprised a lot of people, pulling off the upset 82-65. Oregon State won in convincing fashion, taking advantage of the Wildcats coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Ducks. The Beavs closed out the game with a 51-point second half to secure the victory despite only getting a combined eight points, seven rebounds and two assists from the bench. Oregon State will travel to play Washington Thursday and Washington State Saturday.

Stanford: It was a good week for Stanford basketball. The Cardinal opened up the week by pulling off an impressive comeback win at home against Washington. After trailing most of the game, Stanford got hot late, hitting big shots to get passed the Huskies zone defense attack, finishing the game on a 14-1 run. On Saturday, they continued the terrific shooting as they cruised past Washington State 88-62. Tyrell Terry and Oscar da Silva led the way as they have all season in the rout combining for 15-20 from the floor. They will try to remain undefeated in conference play as they head to Southern California to play UCLA Wednesday and USC Saturday.

UCLA: In their lone game of the week, the Bruins played their lone game against cross town rivals USC. The Bruins came up short 74-63 and have yet to have any real consistency this season. Chris Smith finished the game with 16 points despite a poor shooting night going 5-13 from the field. Jalen Hill added 14 points off the bench but no other non-starter had more than a single field goal. Mick Cronin looks to get his first season at UCLA on track as they host Stanford on Wednesday and Cal on Sunday.

USC: Nick Rakocevic was a force on Saturday against UCLA, scoring 17 points, also collecting 14 rebounds and sending away three shots. The Trojans have been impressive thus far looking to make one of the biggest jumps of any Pac-12 school. They are averaging 72 points a game and are getting major contributions from all five starters. Andy Enfield takes his squad on the road to play Cal Thursday and Stanford Saturday.

Utah: The Utes only game last week was one to forget, getting blown out by Colorado Sunday. Utah has faced a tough conference schedule early in Pac-12 play, and it’s not going to get any easier soon. They travel to play at Arizona Thursday and at Arizona State Saturday. This is a young roster that is learning a lot about the intensity of Pac-12 play. This upcoming road trip will be another true test.

Washington: The Huskies up and down season continues as they looked great in the first half against Stanford but failed to get the win Thursday. Only to turn around and lose by thee in overtime to Cal on Saturday. The two losses coming after losing starting point guard Quade Green was ruled academically ineligible. It’s been a rough start for the Huskies in Pac-12 play but they have a long, athletic roster that if they can get playing on the same page could still make a run this season. Freshmen Isaiah Stewart has been a double-double machine and looks to be a lottery pick next year. The Huskies will get to stay home this week but face a tough Oregon State team Thursday and rival Oregon Ducks Saturday.

Washington State: The Cougars have been a competitive team since entering conference play but need to improve defensively as they have given up 65+ points in each Pac-12 matchup. After losing a close matchup against Cal, the Cougs were blown out by Stanford 88-62 in Palo Alto Saturday. CJ Elleby is averaging over 18 points per contest and is shooting the ball well. They look to pull off an upset as they host the Ducks Saturday and the Beavers Saturday.

~ Shane Potter
www.DuckNews.com