The first four Pac-12 games of the 2011-2012 season were played Thursday evening. They were, in order:
Oregon Ducks @ Washington State Cougars
Oregon State Beavers @ Washington Huskies
USC Trojans @ California Golden Bears
UCLA Bruins @ Stanford Cardinal
Following is a short recap of each of these four Pac-12 games played on December 29th, along with what these games mean for the futures of these teams.
Oregon dominated Washington State during their 17-point rout of the helpless Cougars.
Starting a game on a 9-2 run, the Ducks never let go of their initial lead.
Oregon extended the lead to 20 before halftime with the help of a 31-6 advantage in bench points during the first half alone.
On the game, the Ducks shot 9-for-16 from beyond the three-point arc and nearly 70 percent overall from the floor. This helped them overcome losing the turnover battle, 16-10. Besides scoring more points from beyond the three-point arc, they also won the battle in the paint, outscoring Washington State 44-28.
On December 31st, Oregon will face Washington and Washington State will match up against Oregon State.
Key for Oregon moving forward:
Don't get over-confident. That was a huge win, but the schedule gets a lot tougher than WSU.
Key for Washington State moving forward:
Start fast. The Cougars have struggled when playing from behind this year (Gonzaga, Oklahoma, New Mexico), so starting the game with a lead would be a big step in the right direction.
Despite having the same margin as the Oregon-Washington State game, this game was much closer.
The Washington Huskies jumped out to a 15-6 lead early on in the first half. They stretched it to twenty points before halftime, but the Beavers cut it to eleven before the buzzer. Washington kept their lead the entire game, though Oregon State cut the score to 83-80 late in the second half before Washington went on a 12-0 run to close the game.
Washington's bench outscored Oregon State's 30-9.
The Huskies' Tony Wroten led all scorers with 26 points.
Key for Washington going forward:
Continue to use your depth. Washington had two players come off the bench and play 28 minutes or more and score 13 or more points.
Key for Oregon State going forward:
Keep going into the paint. The Beavers scored 44 points in the paint and should have kept throwing the ball down low. The three-ball wasn't really on.
A snoozer of a game for 90 percent of the time, this game got quite exciting in the end.
The Golden Bears owned the first half of the game, scoring ten points off of turnovers and allowing none.
But the Trojans came from down 40-24 to get within one, 50-49. With 14 seconds to play, Allen Crabbe was fouled shooting a three-pointer and sunk all three free throws, putting the game out of reach.
The teams shot a combined 16-for-31 from the free throw line.
USC's biggest downfall was their 17 turnovers as compared to only six assists.
Key for California going forward:
Defensive rebounding. USC got 18 offensive rebounds during the game! This explains itself.
Key for USC going forward:
Draw more fouls. Go up strong. With 18 offensive rebounds, the Trojans should have destroyed the Golden Bears. They kicked it out far too many times instead of jamming the ball home.
In the most intense game of the evening, the Cardinal (who may become the Pac-12's first ranked team this season) outlasted the Bruins 60-59.
This game was tight the entire way through. The largest lead of the game was Stanford's 11-point margin midway through the first half.
UCLA stayed very close due to an outstanding performance from Lazeric Jones, who scored 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting.
Stanford out-rebounded the Bruins 38-24, including 12-9 on offensive rebounds.
UCLA had two shots to go ahead of the Cardinal in the last ten seconds, but missed both attempts.
Key for Stanford going forward:
Keep shooting the three. Their percentage shooting the three (37.5) was better than their overall field goal percentage (34.5).
Key for UCLA going forward:
Sure it seems simple, but make free throws. They missed nine of them; that makes a big difference.