Ducks own the Pac-12

Oregon heads into tournament with top seed after weekend sweep
March 6, 2016 / Staff report
AP photo.

LOS ANGELES - The University of Oregon might be a basketball school, not football. At least for the spring.

Tyler Dorsey scored 19 points, Elgin Cook added 17 and No. 9 Oregon beat Southern California 76-66 on Saturday to clinch the Pac-12 title outright, the Ducks’ first since 2002 and fifth in school history.

Oregon (25-6, 14-4) overcame a 20-minute power outage in the first half at Galen Center and the Trojans’ early run in the second half to close out the regular season with its fifth straight victory and 11th in 13 games.

The Trojans (20-11, 9-9) lost to Oregon for the 12th straight time, the Ducks’ longest-ever winning streak against USC. Katin Reinhardt and Nikola Jovanovic scored 12 points each, and Jordan McLaughlin added 10 for the Trojans, who went 2-6 in their last eight games.

The Trojans opened both halves strong, outscoring the Ducks 13-4 to start the second half and take a 50-48 lead, their first since early in the game. After going 9 of 10 from the free throw line in the first half, they struggled in the second, making just 8 of 18.

USC tied the game for the last time at 52-all on Reinhardt’s inside basket, but made just one field goal in the final five minutes.

Casey Benson’s three-pointer gave the Ducks a 63-56 lead after Dillon Brooks made his first basket of the game with 8 minutes to go. Brooks came in averaging a team-leading 17.2 points but got two fouls in the first half and went 1-of-6 from the field.

Dwayne Benjamin added 14 points and Jordan Bell had 10 for the Ducks, who extended their lead to 10 points on Benjamin’s three-pointer with less than two minutes to go.

The lights inside Galen Center went out with 5  minutes left in the first half and Oregon leading 31-22. The Ducks were in the midst of a 28-7 run that produced their largest lead, 37-22. Cook scored nine points and Dorsey added eight in the spurt.

Once the lights came back on, the Ducks scored six straight to finish their big run. The Trojans answered with a 15-7 spurt, getting 3-pointers from Reinhardt and Bennie Boatwright, to end the half trailing 44-37.

Shrugging off their history of slow starts, the Trojans opened the game by outscoring the Ducks 15-9. Cook and Dorsey combined to score 13 straight points in launching the Ducks’ dominant offensive stretch that helped them shoot 59 percent in the half.

TIP-INS: The Ducks are the top seed for the league tourney in Las Vegas. ... They swept the L.A. schools, having beaten UCLA 76-68 on Thursday, when Dorsey scored 20 points. ... They improved to 16-0 when holding opponents under 70 points.

UP NEXT: Oregon opens the Pac-12 Tournament as the top seed Thursday in Las Vegas at noon.

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