Guard play the difference as No. 20 Colorado ends No. 10 Oregon’s win streak

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No. 10 Oregon possesses arguably the nation’s deepest backcourt, with two talented transfers (Jason Calliste and Joseph Young) joining forces with returnees Dominic Artis, Johnathan Loyd and wing Damyean Dotson. It’s a group that up until Sunday afternoon had won 13 straight games to start the season, and it’s safe to say that the Ducks will continue to have success as the season wears on thanks in large part to this talented corps.

But on Sunday in Boulder it was the tandem of Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie that stole the show, combining for 50 points and 11 assists to lead No. 20 Colorado to the 100-91 victory. Booker, who has played better basketball on the offensive end since knocking down that game-winner against then-No. 6 Kansas last month, racked up a career-high 27 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists.

With Oregon doing a solid job of taking away Dinwiddie in the first half Booker was one of the keys to the Buffaloes taking a 44-42 lead into the half, with Josh Scott (15 points, 12 rebounds for the game) and Wesley Gordon working hard on the offensive glass. Dinwiddie (seven assists) came alive in the game’s final 20 minutes, scoring 14 of his 23 points in a second half that included a stretch in which he hit three straight three-pointers, and Booker scored 11 points in the final 4:40 to seal the outcome.

Faced with the challenge of Oregon’s deep backcourt, Colorado’s junior tandem stepped forward just a couple days after struggling (combined to shoot 5-for-19) in a six-point win over Oregon State on Thursday night.

But to give all of the credit for Colorado’s victory to the two guards would be unfair, as the aforementioned Scott posted his fifth straight double-double and seventh of the season. As a freshman Scott, who entered Sunday averaging 13.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest, accounted for just three double-doubles the entire season. Sunday’s performance represents another step forward for Scott, who’s turning into one of the Pac-12’s best big men.

Add in 15 points and seven rebounds from Xavier Johnson (Gordon’s seven rebounds shouldn’t be discounted either) and the players expected to do the heavy lifting for Tad Boyle’s team did just that against the Ducks.

Both teams have some work to do defensively, but while that was evident on Sunday afternoon the scoring options on both teams clearly played a role in this. Oregon’s got a very good backcourt, and that fact isn’t going to change. But if anything, Colorado’s backcourt tandem of Booker and Dinwiddie took advantage of the stage to make a statement.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
AP Photo
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.

Arizona’s Tarczewski out 4-to-6 weeks

Kaleb Tarczewski, Sean Miller
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Arizona will be without senior center Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-to-6 weeks, the school announced on Tuesday. The 7-foot Tarczewski suffered a stress reaction and strained muscle to his left foot and he’ll have some time to heal before the main portion of the Pac-12 conference schedule.

The experienced Tarczewski was averaging 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Without the senior in the lineup, Arizona fell to Providence in the Wooden Legacy last week. Without Tarczewski in the lineup, the Wildcats could turn to center Dusan Ristic while forward Ryan Anderson has had some solid outings this season.

Missing Tarczewski for the rest of non-conference play will hurt but he’ll get to rest and recover for the stretch run while the Wildcats can mix in some new frontcourt pieces.