Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Wildcats set to battle USC in Pac-12 Tournament championship

Wildcats set to battle USC in Pac-12 Tournament championship

Mathews had 11 points early but Nick Rakocevic surged to pass him atop the scoring charts in the first half with 13 points. It's the only game this year that we had not one offensive rebound, and UCLA had some killer second shots in the first half. And with Arizona's Ayton and 7-foot Dusan Ristic inside, nothing was happening there for USC, which was held to 61 points. Ayton also scored the first seven points of the extra frame that put the game away. Arizona outrebounded the Bruins - with stalwart Thomas Welsh (17 points and 17 rebounds) - by a margin of 10-1 in overtime. The defense has been the difference-maker, as opponents accounted for less than one point per possession four times over that stretch, including against Oregon State and Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament. "And we have to rely on that as we go forward here", USC coach Andy Enfield said after the loss. Holiday entered Friday's game averaging 20.1 points and 5.8 assists. That's a first for Pac-12 referees!

LAS VEGAS - The crowd roared, the dunks followed. That was in stark contrast to his 34-point performance against the Cardinal on Thursday and last month's 17 points and eight assists in an 82-74 win over Arizona at McKale Center.

"We moved the ball as a team", Mathews said.

Less than 24 hours before tip-off, Ayton had commanded the Trojans' attention. Although Ayton has the size advantage, Metu must use his added experience to make the big man uncomfortable. "S-, I don't know", he said. "And he played like that today", Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. "We fought 'till the end". Aaron Holiday, who according to some though should have been Pac-12 Player of the Year, finished with 15 points, three assists and one rebound. Metu did not foul out, though. "He's probably the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft". Only a total of eight fouls were called in the first half.

Next on tap: The Trojans will await their fate on Selection Sunday.

Pac-12 Network is included in the "Fubo Premier" channel package.

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At times, it looked as if their lead might wither. But following a timeout, the Wildcats answered with a 15-2 run to take a 27-19 lead with just under six minutes left in the half. But the teams traded baskets for the final minutes.

"I think UCLA was really, really excited in their locker room afterward, because it meant something to beat us, and I think we've done a nice job as a program getting to the point right where it means something to beat Stanford", head coach Jerod Haase said. It mirrored their semifinal win over UCLA on Friday, when they trailed by four points at halftime, before marching out to an 18-8 run to start the second half.

Arizona's DeAndre Ayton celebrates during the second half against OR in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Eugene, Ore.

Arizona will likely be a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, but with Ayton leading the way, it will have just about every team hoping against hope it can stay out of its path. Our defense was intact, even though there were times maybe when we had the ball, we didn't execute as well.

Arizona shot 43.9 percent but kept Colorado to 42.3 percent overall and just 5 of 20 from 3-point range.

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