Las Vegas, NV (SportsNetwork.com) - The fifth-ranked and top-seeded Arizona Wildcats will try to avoid their fourth Pac-12 Tournament championship game loss in the last five years when they take on the second-seeded Oregon Ducks in the league title match Saturday at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The winner not only becomes the Pac-12 champion, but also earns the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
It was an absolute thriller between Oregon and Utah on Friday night in the Pac-12 semifinal round. Joseph Young connected on a long 3-pointer with three seconds remaining to lift his Ducks to a 67-64 victory over the Utes to advance to the title bout.
Arizona faced fourth-seeded UCLA on Friday in the semifinal matchup - the team the Wildcats lost to in last year's championship match. But Arizona had the last laugh this season, winning over the Bruins Friday by a 70-64 margin.
Oregon and Arizona met two times during the regular season, with both decisions going to the Wildcats. Arizona took an 80-62 victory back on Jan. 8, and then demolished the Ducks just a few weeks later in Tucson, 90-56.
Talk about a down-to-the-wire clash Friday between the Ducks and the Utes. Young's long 3-point try was perfect with just seconds left on the regulation clock, allowing Oregon to move on and go for the team's second league title in three years. Young finished the game with a team-high 25 points, while Dillon Brooks added 14 points and Elgin Cook chipped in 13. The Ducks buried 47.2 percent of their field goals in the win.
The Ducks will look to tie Arizona and UCLA for the most Pac-12 titles in program history. Oregon owns four all-time, while both the Wildcats and Bruins have registered four league championships. In Oregon's blowout loss to Arizona back on Jan. 28, the Ducks allowed the Wildcats to shoot 59.3 percent from the field. Cook paced Oregon's offensive effort with 16 points, while Young added 12 and Brooks chipped in 11 off the bench.
Arizona and UCLA went into halftime all knotted up at 27-27 on Friday in the semifinal match of the Pac-12 Tournament, but the momentum favored the top- seeded Wildcats in the second half. Arizona buried 43.3 percent of their field goal tries and made 14-of-18 from the free-throw line, while UCLA hit only eight second-half shots from the charity stripe en route to the loss. Brandon Ashley scored 24 points to lead the Wildcats, while Stanley Johnson added 15 points with nine rebounds, T.J. McConnell added a 10-point and 11-assist double-double, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson pulled down a team-best 12 rebounds.
The Wildcats were able to get their revenge after last season's upset loss to the Bruins in the title game, and now they'll go for the season sweep of the Ducks. In Arizona's 90-56 win over Oregon in Tucson, six Wildcats players scored in double figures while the freshman Johnson notched 12 points, six rebounds and five assists to help his team to victory.