Utah faces fresher, higher-ranked Oregon in Pac-12 Tournament semifinals
Las Vegas • In one matchup, Oregon dominated Utah and suffocated Larry Krystkowiak's team for a half.
In another, the Utes defeated the Ducks and claimed victory over a ranked team for the first time in five seasons.
The two teams will take one more shot at each other Friday night, meeting in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
No. 3 Oregon will enter the matchup as the heavy favorite, and the fresher team. No. 10 Utah will be the lone double-digit seed remaining in the field, the Cinderella trying to fit the slipper for another 24 hours.
With a loss, the Utes season will be finished. Then again, most thought Utah would be finished Wednesday night when it faced USC. But Krystkowiak's crew beat the Trojans and defeated California, and now they are one of the more talked about stories around.
"All we know is that we're here," Krystkowiak said. "Our kids believe, and we aren't satisfied with what we've done. We want to keep it going."
Packed house, great basketball
True to the Pac-12 regular season, the Thursday quarterfinal round was as closely played as any conference tournament in the country.
UCLA overcame a sizable deficit in the second half to defeat Arizona State, a game that saw prized freshmen Jahii Carson and Shabazz Muhammad get into a shoving match. Arizona defeated Colorado, setting up a monster semifinal matchup between the Bruins and the Wildcats.
Washington and Oregon went overtime, with the Ducks eventually prevailing 80-77.
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Utah small forward Cedric Martin left Thursday's win over California late with an ankle injury. Krystkowiak said that he didn't know whether or not Martin would be able to play on Friday night. Martin was instrumental against California with his defense on Allen Crabbe.
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