Oregon's Olu Ashalou contributed 22 points in the Ducks' 108-97 win over Iowa. (AP Photo)
The Pac-12 went 3-1 Sunday in basketball tournament action, which was as good as could be expected, given Washington was playing Utah in the WNIT, and while someone was bound to win, someone had to lose.
Iowa probably won't be looking to join the Pac in the next flurry of conference realignment, after California eliminated them from the women's NCAA Tournament with an 84-74 win, and then Oregon shot them down 108-97 in the NIT.
Down at Matt Court in Eugene, the Hawkeyes got an eye-popping performance from Roy Devyn Marble, who hit 7 of 8 3 point shots, and 10 of 15 overall, on his way to a game high 31 points. But Iowa made a major tactical error in getting into a shoot-out with the Ducks. E.J. Singler made 9 of 10 shots, including 3 of 4 of his 3 pointers, to lead Oregon with 25 points, and he got lots of help.
Devoe Joseph and Garrett Sim also made 3 3 pointers each, and Singler, Sim, and Joseph made every free throw they took, as the trio combined for 55 total points. Olu Ashalou made 7 of 10 shots, and added 8 of 11 at the line, for 22 points, and Carlos Emory was 10 of 11 at the line, on his way to 19 points.
Overall, Oregon made 28 of 32 free throws, and shot 74% from the floor in the second half, thrilling the 8,650 fans that turned out for the Sunday afternoon contest.
Ashalou did what he did despite missing time late in the game after crashing head and shoulder first into a railing while pursuing a loose ball in the corner. Ashalou was down over 5 minutes before walking to the locker room. Fortunately, he returned to the bench with a sizable cut over his left eye in time to see his team advance to the NIT quarterfinals. There were no concussion symptoms, and Ashalou is expected to be ready to go Tuesday.
It was the most points the Ducks have scored in a game in a decade, and the 4th game in a row at Matt court where they posted at least 90 points. Oregon (23-9) went 17-3 at home this year (though one of those losses was to Oregon St.). The Ducks will meet Washington (23-10) in Seattle on Tuesday, after the Huskies beat Northwestern 76-55 Friday night. The Ducks and Huskies split their regular season meetings. It will be interesting to see what the size and temperament of the crowd will be in Seattle for the hated Ducks with a trip to New York city for the NIT Final Four at stake.
California took the lead for good midway in the first half, led 42-33 at halftime, and by as many as 16 on their way to advancing to the second round of the women's NCAA tournament.
Layshia Clarendon scored 16 points for the Golden Bears, and hit a pair of free throws with 41 seconds left to seal the win, but it was a team effort that saw 5 California players in double figures, and free throw shooting (the Bears made 21 of 30 at the line, while only allowing Iowa to get to the free throw line 10 times) that made the difference.
California (25-9) will next meet Notre Dame (31-3) on the Irish's home floor on Tuesday. Stanford (32-1), the other Pac-12 team in the NCAA tournament will next be in action Monday, against West Virginia (24-9).
It's ridiculous that Notre Dame as a #1 regional seed gets to play at home, while Stanford, also a regional #1 seed, has to play in Virginia. Either all top seeds should get to host the first 2 rounds, or none of them should.
Finally, Oregon St. found out which Pac-12 foe they would get to play in the 3rd round of the WNIT when Washington ended Utah's season with a 52-39 win in Seattle.
This was an ugly shooting game, with the Utes hitting less than 25 % from the field, and the Huskies just 28%. The teams combined to make only 1 of 30 3 point shots attempted.
The difference was mostly at the free throw line, where Washington (19-13) was 20 of 28, while Utah (16-16) was only 10 of 14.
With the Washington men's team hosting Oregon Tuesday, the Husky women will be visiting Oregon St. Tuesday to determine which Pac-12 team will reach the quarterfinals of the WNIT.