Friday, March 15, 2013
LAS VEGAS — Utah has taken down two higher seeds in the Pac-12 tournament.
Two more, and the Utes’ postseason will continue.
Jarred DuBois scored 21 points and hit a tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation, Jordan Loveridge scored eight of his 20 points in overtime, and Utah upset second-seeded California 79-69 in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals Friday night.
“A lot of times, if you watch basketball at all levels, the team that plays the hardest usually wins,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “So I think that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re playing with some confidence. We’ve got some guys that are stepping up.”
Utah (15-17) knocked off seventh-seeded USC in its opener and took down No. 2 by hitting some big shots down the stretch.
The 10th-seeded Utes trailed 59-56 in regulation after Allen Crabbe hit two free throws, but Utah worked the ball around to DuBois, who hit a contested 3-pointer with 4 seconds left to tie the game. Utah dominated overtime and will move on to face Oregon, which beat Washington 80-77 in overtime later Thursday, in Friday’s semifinals.
That’s two down and two to go to the NCAA tournament for the Utes.
“We can’t look ahead or get ahead of ourselves,” Loveridge said. “We’re just trying to play every game as hard as we can and try to see how far we can make it.”
Cal (20-11) needed to play well in the Pac-12 tournament to ensure an NCAA invite but now will have to wait three anxious days to find out if it will get an at-large bid.
Justin Cobbs had 26 points and Crabbe finished with 21 for the Bears.
No. 18 Arizona 79, Colorado 69
LAS VEGAS — Arizona knew it would get a tough, physical game from Colorado. Every game seems to be that way when these teams play.
Unlike their previous meeting, when they were blown out by Colorado, the Wildcats had an answer.
Nick Johnson scored 18 points and hit a contested shot with 34 seconds left, helping No. 18 Arizona beat Colorado 79-69 in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals Thursday.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team because we need to play extremely hard to beat a team like Colorado,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “It seems like every time we get together with them, we play these very physical, tough games, and today was no different.”
Arizona (25-6) was in control most of the way and led by 14 midway through the second half. They still had trouble shaking the desperate Buffaloes, who are on the NCAA tournament bubble.
But, like they did so many times early in the season, the Wildcats came up with the big plays to close out a tight game.
With Arizona leading 71-69, Johnson hit his shot between three defenders. Teammate Mark Lyons followed with two free throws and Johnson kept the Buffs from getting closer by swatting Askia Booker’s 3-point attempt into Colorado’s bench.
Lyons finished with 14 points and Solomon Hill had 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists for Arizona, which moves on to face No. 21 UCLA in Friday’s semifinals.
“We played great tonight,” Hill said. “We had a couple of mishaps here and there, but all in all we got the ‘W.’”
Colorado (21-11) won last year’s conference tournament with four wins in four days and opened this year’s tournament with a six-point victory over Oregon State.
No. 21 UCLA 80, Arizona State 75
LAS VEGAS — UCLA broke out new uniforms that looked like pajamas and played like they were barely awake well into the second half.
Freshman Shabazz Muhammad snapped the Bruins out of it, saving them from an inglorious exit from the Pac-12 tournament.
Muhammad scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half, Travis Wear hit a jumper with 11 seconds left and No. 21 UCLA rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Arizona State 80-75 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament on Thursday.
“These guys never quit. They never gave up,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “They never stopped believing in themselves and each other and really found a way to battle back. “
Wearing uniforms with sleeves and matching camouflage-patterned shorts, the Bruins (24-8) got off to a groggy start and appeared to be in danger of becoming the second straight top seed to lose its first game in the Pac-12 tournament.
Muhammad gave UCLA the spark it needed with a highlight-reel dunk over Arizona State center Jordan Bachynski and scored 10 points during a 17-4 second-half run that got the Bruins back in it.
UCLA kept its composure down the stretch, going up 78-75 on Wear’s jumper and stayed in front when Arizona State’s Jonathan Gilling missed a corner 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
Larry Drew II had 20 points and Wear finished with 15 to send the Bruins into the semifinals against No. 18 Arizona on Friday night.