For the second time in three years, the Arizona Wildcats are Kings of the Strip.
Arizona (30-4) defended well, got great looks offensively and had enough in reserve to hold off Oregon (29-5) and win the Pacific 12 Conference men’s basketball tournament championship Saturday 83-80 in front of 18,927 at T-Mobile Arena.
The Wildcats should be no worse than a No. 2 seed when the NCAA announces its 68-team tournament field Sunday afternoon. More important to Arizona, it should remain in the West, playing its first- and second-round games in either Sacramento or Salt Lake City.
The Wildcats built a 35-29 halftime lead as Oregon, a 2-point betting favorite, struggled to finish its possessions. The Ducks shot just 34 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. Arizona led by as many as 14 (49-35) 4:38 into the second half as Oregon continued to have trouble getting stops.
Former Findlay Prep star Allonzo Trier led Arizona with 23 points and was named the tournament’s MVP. The Wildcats were also strong on the boards, outrebounding Oregon 35-25.
The Ducks, who pulled within 79-77 with 24.7 to play after Arizona missed four straight free throws, were led by Findlay Prep alum Dillon Brooks with 25 points and Tyler Dorsey with 20.
Contact Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.