Final Score: Arizona 70 Oregon St. 59
Eighteenth ranked Arizona capitalized on another Oregon St. offensive drought, using an 8-0 first half run during which the Beavers went nearly 4 minutes without scoring to open a lead they never gave up, and managed their way to a 70-59 win Thursday night in Tucson. The victory, coupled with Washington's 70-63 win over UCLA earned the Wildcats the Pac-10 regular season title (the 'Cats have the tie-breaker over the Bruins should they lose Saturday and UCLA wins in Pullman), their first in 6 years.
Despite Oregon St. preventing him from getting up a second half shot, Derrick Williams still had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Arizona, due to getting to the line 10 total times. Lamont "Momo" Jones added 17 points for the 'Cats, and Kyle Fogg was a major factor as well. Despite scoring only 9 points, all of those came on critical three pointers, and Fogg also served up 6 assists
Arizona bounced back from a lost LA weekend, where they dropped both games, saving clinching the title for in front of their home fans.
Jared Cunningham was throttled down to only 7 points, due primarily to getting up only 6 shots. Notably, Cunningham, one of the best free throw shooters in the country and Oregon St. history, never got to the line.
The first half scoring drought, which has been a reoccurring theme/problem for Oregon St., though this one was NOT at the start of the game, was the killer. The Beavers were down only by 2 points when the cold streak struck, and afterwards, never got closer than 6 points.
But despite another 5-0 run by Arizona right before halftime, the margin was between 7 and 14 points the entire second half. Oregon St. played well, and out-played Arizona in some stretches, but the 'Cats were able to answer every Beaver charge, finding an open shooter, or getting a run-out, when, and whenever, necessary. Sometimes with help from an OSU error.
"It seemed like right when we cut it to seven, we would do something ill-advised," Oregon St. coach Craig Robinson said. "Either a foul or a missed closeout or a missed shot or something that gave them an easy three to take it right back to 10."
A close second place for "factor of the game" was the Arizona defense that produced 22 Oregon St. turnovers, including 8 in the first 8 minutes of the game. Eventually, the 'Cats got 23 points off turnovers, which was the lever they used to keep the Beavers at bay in several cases.
Oregon St., who had a three game winning streak against Arizona coming into the contest, again frustrated the 'Cats early with their 1-3-1 zone defense, which contributed to them missing their first 9 three point shots.
Arizona coach Sean Miller did his best job yet of getting the 'Cats' passing adjusted to the Beaver defense, though, and Fogg has to get a lot of the credit, playing well away from the ball, and when he had the ball in his hands.
Arizona (24-6, 13-4) can claim the regular season Pac-10 title outright with a win Saturday over Oregon. The Ducks (14-15, 9-10) lost to Arizona St. 73-53 last night in Tempe.
Oregon St. (10-18, 5-12) concludes their trip to the desert, and the regular season, with a visit to the Sun Devils (11-18, 3-14) Saturday at 1 PM PST. It will be a radio only game, between the two teams that will finish 9th. (OSU) and 10th. (ASU) in the Pac-10 regardless of the outcome.
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