Arizona Basketball

Pac-12 tournament notes: Oregon has role of hunted, not hunter against Arizona



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LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Oregon ended Arizona’s 49-game winning streak at McKale Center at the end of January but guard Dillon Brooks was asked anyway by a reporter Thursday if he holds a grudge over the Wildcats routing the Ducks in last year’s Pac-12 title game.

Arizona defeated Oregon 80-52 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. It is the largest margin of victory in the championship game in tournament history.

“I feel like we had our revenge over there in Tucson,” Brooks said of Oregon’s 83-75 win on Jan. 28. “We’re the team to beat (as the regular season champion), so we just have to give them our best shot.”

Oregon freshman guard Tyler Dorsey insists he carries no animosity toward Arizona after having de-committed from the Wildcats during the recruiting process.

“They are just like another team,” he said. “I treat every team the same. I’ll treat them the same. There’s nothing to that ‘Arizona thing’ at all.”

He remembers watching at home in Los Angeles when Oregon lost big to Arizona here last year.

“Arizona got us good,” he said. “We’re the No. 1 seed now. We have to stay hungry.”

Making the most of his Chance. Arizona freshman center Chance Comanche played a modest four minutes against Colorado in Thursday’s 82-78 victory. He got the most out of those minutes making 3 of 4 free-throw attempts while grabbing two rebounds and blocking one shot.

He has averaged 6.4 minutes over the last five games, including 11 minutes at Utah, a game in which he started the second half in place of Ryan Anderson.

“I feel it mainly raises my confidence on and off the court and it shows that the coachecs believe I can help the team when I’m out there,” Comanche said of his increased role. “When I go out there, I give it my all. I just do what I can.

“I don’t know if something has clicked. I just think after the Utah game by starting me (in the second half), that built my confidence up and from that point on in practice and in the games I just feel like more comfortable in the game now.”

No, he’s not Bobby Boucher. Oregon slender forward Chris Boucher (pronounced Boo-shay like the “Waterboy” character) is one of those stretch players that can drive interior guys like Kaleb Tarczewski and Anderson nuts.

In the victory over Washington on Thursday, Boucher (6’10” and 190 pounds) scored 19 points making 6 of 9 shots from the field (2 of 4 from three-point range) while also pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds. With his inside-outside capability, what does he like to do more?

“Some times inside is working and some times the outside is working,” said Boucher, of Montreal, Quebec. “I don’t have any preference. Any play to help my teammates win is what I like. I’ll just go with that.”

Boucher had 10 points and five rebounds in the first meeting with Arizona. He missed both of his shots from beyond the arc, but his quickness and long arms allowed him to record three steals.

Zeus strikes … at least once. Tarczewski had one of his worst shooting performances, making only 1 of 9 attempts from the field against Colorado, but the one made shot was a thing of beauty. It was so magnificent, it ranks high among his best offensive maneuvers as a Wildcat.

He became isolated against Colorado center Josh Scott on the wing. Instead of passing off to a guard, Tarczewski did his best impression of Sean Elliott and drove the baseline and swooped to the basket for a reverse layup with 12:01 left in the game.

“Thank God I made one shot today, because I’ll tell you now, I was struggling out there,” Tarczewski said.

The senior center now stands alone as the Arizona player with the most career victories in games he played with 110. Gabe York has 105 victories, which ranks tied for fifth in school history.

Running afoul with whistle-happy refs. Oregon had three starters finish with four fouls against Washington — Elgin Cook, Brooks and Boucher. With how the Huskies hung close to the last minute, Dana Altman’s team is fortunate none of them fouled out.

The game had 44 fouls and a foul out while the Colorado-Arizona matchup had 56 fouls with Buffaloes guard Josh Fortune fouling out. This comes after Wednesday’s four games in which 167 fouls were called with five foul outs.

“I feel like (the officiating) is different (with it being the postseason) but Washington fouls a lot,” Brooks said. “More to the end, they’ll let guys play. It will be muscle on muscle. When it gets closer to March Madness and it gets closer to the championship of this tournament, less fouls will be called.”

Or so he hopes.

Fortune became the 35th opponent to foul out against Arizona this season, which is three off the school’s season record of 38 set in 1974-75.


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[/ezcol_1half_end] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.


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