March 3, 2012, 11:29 pm
It’s official, The Oregon men basketball team will be the No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament after they made easy work of the Utah Utes, 94-48, finishing the regular season with a 13-5 record in conference and 22-8 record overall.
The Ducks came out firing on all cylinders to start this game as they scored 34 of the game’s opening 36 points. It was all the home team needed to secure third place in the Pac-12 standings and the number three seed in the upcoming Pac-12 Conference Tournament. It was just the style of game that the 10,000 plus from Matthew Knight Arena wanted to see Saturday afternoon. Oregon’s 94 points marked a season-high for the team, with their 46-point win setting the season mark for largest margin of victory. Additionally, five Oregon players (Devoe Joseph, Carlos Emory, Garrett Sim, Olu Ashaolu, and E.J. Singler) scored in double-figures for the first time this season. And don’t forget the fact that the team made 15 three-pointers on what was the final regular season game for the seniors in Eugene.
Oregon shot a scorching 65.6 percent from the field in the first half, while limiting the Utes to just 5-of-22 shooting (22.7 percent) from the floor during the first 20 minutes. The horn sounded for intermission as the Ducks held an authoritative 52-14 halftime lead. Senior Devoe Joseph did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 14 of his team-high 21 points on 6-of-6 shooting in the opening half.
The highlight of the game, and possibly the year, was undoubtedly Olu Ashaolu leaping clear over a Utah defender’s head and slamming home a thunderous jam that drew a foul and sent Matthew Knight Arena crowd and the Oregon bench in to a wild, celebratory frenzy. Ashaolu, who finished the game with 12 points and eight rebounds, converted the free throw and wore a big grin on his face as he headed back down to the defensive end...
The Ducks now shift their focus to the upcoming Pac-12 Tournament next week in Los Angeles, where the winner of the Colorado-Utah game in the first round of the tournament will face Oregon in a Thursday night quarterfinal matchup. Despite NCAA Tournament hopes still remaining at-large, Joseph and the Ducks have, without question, made a tremendous transformation from the beginning of the season till now; coming together as a team believing it is a force to be reckoned entering tournament.
Be sure to tune back in Thursday, March 8th, when the Ducks will tip-off against the winner of the Colorado-Utah game at 5:30 from the Staples Center on your home of the Oregon Ducks, 750 AM The Game, KXTG Portland.