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Day 2 Analysis From the 2011 Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament

Victor Marticorena, Shotgun Spratling |
March 10, 2011 | 4:51 a.m. PST

Alex Stepheson helped the Trojans advance to the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. (Shotgun Spratling)
Alex Stepheson helped the Trojans advance to the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. (Shotgun Spratling)

We will be keeping you updated on all of the Day 2 proceedings of the Pac-10 Tournament, so check back as we update this page throughout the day.

Follow along with all of Neon Tommy's Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament coverage, including coverage of the women's tournament as well.

Tournament Bracket

(All men's games are being played at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.)

Game 3: USC Traps the Bears 70-56

USC 70, California 56

Live Stats | Live Game Blog

Recap: USC (19-13) started the game very sloppy. For the first 10 minutes of the game, it seemed as if the Trojans' NCAA bid was going to end early.

The Golden Bears shut down the Trojans at the beginning of the game, holding them to nine points on 3-of-17 shooting and forcing seven turnovers in the first 13 and a half minutes of play. However, after a timeout and a good talking to by coach Kevin O’Neill, USC flipped the switch and dominated the rest of the game.

USC managed a very balanced attack on offense. Four players scored in double digits.

Cal was led by Allen Crabbe, who had 21 points to lead all scorers. 

The Trojans' stifling defense held the Bears to their lowest offensive output all season against a conference opponent. 

Quote: “I thought [the team's] effort was tremendous, and we need to make sure we have that same kind of effort tomorrow no matter who we play.” Kevin O'Neill, USC head coach

Player of the Game: Alex Stepheson (USC)

Stepheson and the Trojans started off slow, but USC’s big man stepped up his game and picked up the slack for struggling forward Nikola Vucevic. Stepheson ended the game with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting and tied a career-high with 16 boards, five of which came on the offensive end. He also changed plenty of shots on the defensive end, helping the Trojans' stout defense to stifle the Bears. 

What it Means: The Trojans snapped Cal’s four-game winning streak to advance to the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. The Trojans continue their battle to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but they still have a tough fight ahead of them. USC needs to win tomorrow in order to even be in consideration for the “Big Dance.” The Trojans play Arizona at 6 p.m. Friday.

The Golden Bears will most likely not be invited to a postseason tournament after finishing with a 17-14 record.


Game 4: Arizona Dominates Second Half Against Fiesty Beavers

Arizona 78, Oregon State 69

Live Stats | Live Game Blog

Derrick Williams led Arizona's second half surge against Oregon State. (Shotgun Spratling)
Derrick Williams led Arizona's second half surge against Oregon State. (Shotgun Spratling)
Recap: Still high off the rush of winning its first Pac-10 Tournament game in five years, Oregon State came out firing. The Beavers had the lead for the first 10 minutes of the game and kept within striking distance the whole first half. They were led by guard Jared Cunningham and his 19 first half points.

However, Arizona opened up the game in the second half. The Wildcats started out by hitting three 3-pointers in a row. The Beavers were unable to overcome that outburst. With 10:25 left in the game, frustration kicked in and Oregon State forward Joe Burton hit Arizona's Kevin Parrom in the face with a punch resulting in his ejection. 

With Burton out, and Arizona’s defense finally clamping down on Cunningham (they held him to four points in the second half), the Wildcats pulled out the victory.

Quote: "In March, it’s about whether you win or lose. If you lose, you’re gone. If you win, you have a chance to play for another day. I think we all know we’re in for a difficult challenge against a very good USC team tomorrow.” - Arizona head coach Sean Miller 

Player of the Game: Derrick Williams (Arizona)

Williams led Arizona’s scoring attack with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 5-of-6 from 3-point land. Williams also pulled down seven rebounds and grabbed two steals in the game, securing the win for the Wildcats.

What it Means: With the win, the Wildcats have their first victory in Los Angeles this year. However, they move on in the tournament to play USC, who upset them last time they came to visit.

The Wildcats showed their dominance on the offensive end against Oregon State, but they will have a tough road to the championship game against USC’s No. 1-ranked Pac-10 defense, which is anchored by big men Alex Stepheson and Nikola Vucevic, and the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Simmons. 

Oregon State's ends the season with an 11-20 record.


Game 5: Ducks Upset Bruins in a Blowout

Oregon 76, UCLA 59

Live Stats | Live Game Blog

Recap: Oregon started the rout at the 13-minute mark of the first half. The Ducks (16-16) scored 10 unanswered points as part of a 17-5 run to end the half. They capped the half with a 26-foot buzzer beater by Garrett Sim. 

The second half was no different. Oregon continued its high-octane offensive output, extending the lead all the way to 22 points with four minutes left in the game. The Bruins were flat for most of the game and even received a technical foul for having six players on the court. The Bruins seemed to have come out too relaxed and paid the price for it by getting blown out by 17 points.

Quote: “Well I’m really proud of the guys. I thought our execution offensively was really good tonight. The ball movement was really good. Defensively our communication was very good, and because of that we didn’t give up a lot of easy basketbs and a lot of open looks.” – Oregon head coach Dana Altman 

Player of the Game: E.J. Singler (Oregon)

Singler had a great overall performance, picking up seven boards, three steals and one block and pacing his team on the defensive end. He also led all scorers with 24 points, shooting 7-of-9 from the field and making both of the 3-pointers he took. 

What it Means: UCLA (22-10) will be entering the NCAA tournament on a low note, and it will probably hurting its seeding in the Big Dance.

Meanwhile, the Ducks look to build on this win and continue their hot shooting against Washington. They split the season series with the Huskies and hope to maintain their rhythm into the championship game.

The Ducks are an intriguing team in this tournament. If they can keep up the momentum, it would not be surprising for them to win out the next two days and steal a bid into the NCAA tournament.


Washington and Washington State battled for every loose ball in the Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament. (Shotgun Spratling)
Washington and Washington State battled for every loose ball in the Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament. (Shotgun Spratling)
Game 6: Huskies Surge in Second Half to Win Nail-Biter Over Rivals

Washington 89, Washington State 87

Live Stats | Live Game Blog

Recap: In the final game of Day 2, a pair of rivals battled it out for a spot in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. Both teams were hungry for the W, but nobody could have predicted the ending. 

The Cougars came out strong, scoring 40 points in the first half thanks to strong play from Klay Thompson (who was in his first game back from a one-game suspension). Thompson scored 18 first-half points, and the Cougars pushed ahead by as many as 11 points. 

Washington came roaring back in the second half with a balanced attack led by Isaiah Thomas’ 16 points and 11 assists. The Huskies opened the half with a 10-2 run to tie the game. The teams fought back and forth and traded leads until the 7:31 mark, at which point Washington maintained the lead until to the final seconds of the game. That's when things got crazy.

With 2.3 seconds left and the Cougars down three, guard Reggie Moore missed a free throw. Thompson grabbed the offensive board and put it back in with less than a second left. However, in a move reminiscent of Chris Webber's infamous timeout call at Michigan, the referees said Washington State coach Ken Bone called a timeout when the Cougars had none remaining. This resulted in a technical foul and free throws for the Huskies, who held on to earn an 89-87 win over their rivals. 

Quote: "We said it’s win or go home. This could be the last game we played if we had lost it. But we just fought hard. We didn’t want to lose. Everyone had that mindset.” -- Isaiah Thomas, Washington junior guard

 Player of the Game: Klay Thompson (Washington State)

Even in the loss, Thompson was hands down the player of the game. He was the key to the Cougars even being in this game. He had a whopping 43 points in the thriller, setting a Pac-10 Tournament record for points and 3-pointers made and tying the tournament record for field goals made. Thompson also had six rebounds and two steals in what could possibly be the last game of his collegiate career.

What it Means:

The Huskies advance to play a hot Oregon team in the semifinals Friday night. Washington may have solidified its resume for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament, but a win against the Ducks could completely assure it. The Huskies split the season series with the Ducks.

Washington State’s season may not yet be over. The Cougars are unlikely to make it to the NCAA Tournament, but they are good candidates to participate in the NIT tournament. With performances like Thompson's, the Cougars would be a handful for any team that makes it to the NIT. 


To reach Victor Marticorena, click here, or follow him on Twitter @GrandpapaSports.

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