Oregon 64 - Utah 45
LAS VEGAS – Oregon ended any hopes of Cinderella making it to the ball with a decisive 64-45 win over Utah in Friday night's Pac-12 Tournament semifinal at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Ducks next face UCLA in the tournament championship game Saturday night. Oregon raced to an early lead and never looked back. The victory avenged a loss to the Utes on the final day of the regular season that would have prevented Oregon from winning at least a share of the conference title. Utah, the No. 10 seed in this tournament, made a spirited run to the semifinal with upset wins over USC and Cal.
“I thought we played really hard the first half defensively. We didn’t want to give up easy baskets,” Ducks coach Dana Altman said. “In fairness to them, that’s their third game.” Oregon took the lead with 14:57 left in the half and never relinquished it, pulling away even further in the second half thanks to an 8-0 run punctuated by a Carlos Emory dunk that brought the crowd to its feet.
Damyean Dotson and E.J. Singler each had 14 points for the No. 3 seed Ducks. Arsalan Kazemi had a quiet game with just two points but did manage to haul in six rebounds. The Utes managed to make a quick 7-1 run before the under-eight timeout by forcing two turnovers, but were quickly halted. Oregon managed to grab four offensive rebounds in one possession before Singler laid it in to push the lead back to 50-39.
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Thursday night’s hero and the Utes’ leading scorer, Jarred DuBois, was held scoreless the entire game. Utah shot just 29.4 percent from the field overall and was paced by Brandon Taylor’s 13 points. Still battling back from a foot injury, guard Dominic Artis played 20 minutes for the Ducks and added four assists and five points on 2-of-7 shooting.
[Related video: Carlos Emory discusses the Ducks' semifinal win over Utah]
"He is having a hard time adjusting,” Altman said. “It’s much harder for a freshman to bounce back from injury than a senior or junior.” The Ducks return to the conference championship game for the first time since 2007. Tipoff versus UCLA, which will be without Jordan Adams, is at 8 p.m. PT on ESPN. Game Photos (Eric Evans Photography): [gallery ids="1975,1973,1974,1969,1972,1964,1965,1968,1970,1967,1966,1971"]