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Video credit: Pac-12 Networks
Three of the first four games at the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament were decided by three points or less. It was a great start to the tourney.
Here’s a look through links at what transpired.
No. 6 Washington 64-62 over No. 11 Washington State — Plenty to like in this game for Husky fans. For starters, there’s the sixth straight win against the in-state rival. Times columnist Jerry Brewer writes: “(Desmond) Simmons to the rescue? You wouldn’t let Simmons take the most important shot on your rec-league team. He’s an enforcer type, all toughness and nerve. He leaves the scoring to the pretty boys. But considering the way the Huskies fell apart in the second half, it figures they would need Simmons’ grit to avoid humiliation.” Here’s the game stories in the Spokesman-Review, Associated Press, Kitsap Sun and GoHuskies.com. Gotta love the photo gallery from the Times, which shows the newfound intensity that Scott Suggs and Abdul Gaddy are displaying. And here’s a postgame interview with C.J. Wilcox.
No. 9 Arizona State 89-88 OT over No. 8 Stanford — Freshman Jahii Carson pumped in 34 points, the most since former WSU star Klay Thompson scored 43 against Washington in 2011. Carson put on a spectacle fitting for Las Vegas. Arizona Republic columnist Paola Boivin writes: “What Carson did at the MGM Grand Arena was spectacular, and you can’t really appreciate his skills unless you see them in person. His will was palpable, his focus uncanny. And 34 points later, he helped the Sun Devils advance to Thursday’s second round against UCLA.” Stanford (18-14) is likely headed to the National Invitational Tournament, which it won a year ago. Former Bellevue High star Aaron Bright led the Cardinal with 27 points, including a four-point play with 38 seconds left that forced overtime.
No. 5 Colorado 74-68 over No. 12 Oregon State — Andre Roberson returned from a two-game absence due to a viral infection and the Buffaloes rolled to a somewhat easy win. Beavers coach Craig Robinson said OSU (14-18) will decline an invitation from the College Basketball Invitational if it is offered.
No. 10 Utah 69-66 over No. 7 USC — The Utes saw their 13-point lead shrink to one in the final minutes, but pulled out the win. Coach Larry Krystkowiak and USC’s J.T. Terrell exchanged a few words during the game that may have sparked the victory. It’s likely the end of the season for the Trojans (14-18) and the end of the road for interim coach Bob Cantu. USC is expected to find a permanent replacement in the offseason.