Pac-12 Tournament finals preview: Arizona, Oregon both rolling
LAS VEGAS -- It's finally time.
After three days of action, one memorable buzzer beater and precious few upsets, the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament wraps up Saturday night when the top-seed Arizona Wildcats (30-3) face the second-seed Oregon Ducks (25-8) at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Tipoff is at 8:05 p.m. PT on ESPN.
Oregon got here in dramatic fashion. On Friday night, Pac-12 Player of the Year Joseph Young hit a three-pointer from about 30 feet away with 1.1 seconds left to give the Ducks a 67-64 win over Utah. The scene following the final buzzer was pandemonium.
"That was my first time getting mobbed like that," Young said of the celebratory scrum. "I was just making sure I didn't bust my lip or anything ... but it was a good feeling."
[Related photos: Teammates mob Joe Young]
Young has been Oregon's driving force here in Las Vegas. He scored 26 points on Friday and moved past Ducks greats Luke Jackson, Luke Ridnour and Fred Jackson into second place on the school's single-season scoring list.
With 55 through the first two games of the Pac-12 Tournament, he is just 28 points shy of Reggie Miller's touranment record. That mark may be in jeopardy Saturday.
[Related highlights: Arizona avenges UCLA]
"What Oregon's done, Dana Altman is so deserving of the Coach of the Year because bringing his team from early in the year to how well they're playing is amazing," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "They have a lot of young players. And Joseph Young has carried that team. We're well aware of how well they've been playing."
Miller's Wildcats (30-3) withstood a late rally from UCLA in a 70-64 win in Friday night's other semifinal. Saturday marks the fourth time in the past five years coach Miller's program finds itself in the conference tournament's title game. A win would boost the Wildcats' chances of securing a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. But Arizona is 0-3 in title game matchups under Miller and hasn't won a conference tournament title game since 2002.
[Related highlights: Young buzzer-beater shocks Utah]
Oregon won it in 2003, 2007 and 2013.
The Ducks lost both matchups to Arizona during the regular season, 80-62 on Jan. 8 in Eugene, and 90-56 on Jan. 28 at the McKale Center.