The Oregon Ducks led nearly wire to wire and won the Pac-12 championship in convincing fashion Saturday night in Las Vegas, defeating the Utah Utes 88-57 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Four Oregon players scored in double figures, led by freshman guard Tyler Dorsey's game-high 23 points. Forward Dillon Brooks also chipped in with 18 points and four of Oregon's 11 three-pointers on the night.
CBS Sports tweeted this out after Oregon's dominant victory:
CBS Sports CBB @CBSSportsCBB
Ducks = DANCING https://t.co/dj6KCxadKf2016-3-13 05:03:21
Oregon's official Twitter account shared in the jubilation as the men's basketball program secured a spot in the NCAA tournament:
Pac-12 Tournament Champs! Final Score: 88-57 #WinDucksWin #GoDucks https://t.co/e61qnCT9HB2016-3-13 05:00:25
Utah took an 11-10 lead with 11 minutes, 46 seconds remaining in the first half. The Utes led for the next 49 seconds but never regained the lead after Oregon responded with a 14-2 run over the next five minutes to go up 24-13.
From the 4:48 mark on, Oregon did not lead by less than double digits. A Jordan Bell layup with nine seconds left in the first half gave the Ducks a 38-21 halftime lead to cap off a 45 percent-shooting display through the first 20 minutes.
Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports noted how impressive Oregon's resume was as it was closing in on the Pac-12 championship:
Stewart Mandel @slmandel
BTW, Oregon is up by 17 on Utah at halftime. Will also have a conf. & tourney title w/ a 10-3 Top 50 record.2016-3-13 04:00:19
After playing in overtime against the California Golden Bears a night earlier, Utah turned the ball over 13 times and shot only 40 percent from the floor. John Canzano of the Oregonian thought the Utes were lethargic because of their late-night finish:
John Canzano @johncanzanobft
Oregon all over Utah. It’s 38-21 at halftime. Utes appear to still be doing their hotel walk through.2016-3-13 03:59:47
Already leading by 17, Oregon continued to pour it on. The Ducks eclipsed 60 percent shooting in the second half and made six three-pointers as their lead blossomed to as many as 36 points. Oregon had 34 points in the paint and outrebounded the Utes 36-25.
While the numbers told the bulk of the story, Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports noted Oregon was dominating in every facet of the game:
Jeff Eisenberg @JeffEisenberg
Oregon is making this look so easy. Spread floor. Identify mismatch. Drive and score. Force turnover. Repeat.2016-3-13 04:17:34
ESPN.com's Jeff Borzello thinks Oregon will be one of the national darlings when the NCAA tournament gets underway:
Jeff Borzello @jeffborzello
That Oregon bandwagon was way more spacious and roomy a month ago. Very little elbow room now.2016-3-13 04:39:19
Star big man Jakob Poeltl led the Utes with only 13 points to go along with four rebounds. No other Utah player scored in double figures as the team combined to shoot 44.8 percent from the floor.
Tyson Alger of the Oregonian noted Utah did lead in one category, however:
Tyson Alger @tysonalger
There is not a single category in the game that Utah is beating Oregon in, other than those pesky free throws. https://t.co/j2djlXZvjX2016-3-13 04:46:37
There's going to be a lot of talk over the course of the next 24 hours about whether Oregon should be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, and Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic believes the Ducks are deserving of the distinction:
Doug Haller @DougHaller
Oregon deserves a No. 1 seed. And I'm not sure there's really much to debate about this.2016-3-13 04:34:43
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports thinks there's no question:
Jon Rothstein @JonRothstein
Oregon ripped through the Pac-12 like a chainsaw through butter. Ducks won regular season and tournament title. One seed. No debate.2016-3-13 05:01:19
Oregon almost squandered its opportunity to win the Pac-12 championship Friday but rebounded to get a quality win over Arizona.
After their performance Saturday, the Ducks may have done enough to earn a top seed, which didn't seem likely at the beginning of the week.
Dorsey said after the game with what happened against Arizona in the semifinals, the message coming out of halftime was to keep the foot on the pedal.
"We jumped on them in the first half pretty quick," Dorsey said, per the Pac-12. "Coming into the locker room at halftime we knew like the last game Arizona we let them come back. We knew we emphasized on that and not letting them jump on us in the first five minutes of the second half. That's what we did."
Arizona head coach Sean Miller said Oregon has enough talent to win the NCAA championsihp, and while that's a high compliment, Oregon coach Dana Altman says he hasn't seen how other teams stack up to make that clain.
"Well, I think Sean was trying to be nice," Altman said, per the Pac-12. "We have a good ballclub. I haven't seen enough basketball across the country. You kind of get locked in on your conference. You watch other games."
Despite coming up short, Utah guard Brandon Taylor will not forget the experience he and his team had to get to this point.
"Well, as a team I think we just made some noise," Taylor said, per the Pac-12. "To get into the championship is something that this program's never done and something I've never been a part of. So it's things like that that you can't forget."