Pac-12 Tournament: UCLA uses big second half to march into semifinals

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Following their loss at Washington State in the regular season finale for both teams, there were some who wondered what was wrong with UCLA. The answer was simple: Steve Alford’s team didn’t play well against the Cougars, and the combination of less than optimal execution and a lack of energy factored into that disappointing result.

That wasn’t a problem on Thursday night as the Bruins began their Pac-12 tournament run with an 82-63 victory over an Oregon squad that had won eight in a row.

Jordan Adams led five Bruins in double figures with 15 points and Kyle Anderson added 11 to go along with eight rebounds and six assists, and as a team UCLA shot 56.5% from the field and 8-for-16 from beyond the arc. Oregon certainly had issues defensively, something that had not been the case for much of their eight-game win streak, but this was more about UCLA’s level of execution than anything the Ducks failed to do.

The Ducks were able to keep pace offensively in the first half, trailing by just two points at the intermission. But while the Bruins were consistently able to find quality looks that wasn’t the case for Oregon, which shot 35.5% from the field and 4-for-17 from beyond the arc in the game’s final 20 minutes. Joseph Young made ten of his 18 shots and scored 29 points, but no other Duck scored more than eight and as a group they combined to shoot 14-for-37.

UCLA may not have finished its regular season on the best note but this is still a talented group that can make some noise. The keys will be the defense and the play of the front court, with both David (11 points, four rebounds) and Travis Wear (14 points, five rebounds) performing well against Oregon. Friday’s matchup (Stanford or Arizona State) will provide more resistance from a size standpoint, but if they can perform well UCLA is more than capable of advancing.

VIDEO: Boise State robbed of insane, buzzer-beating win on incorrect timing by officials

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It looked like James Webb III of Boise State had hit the season’s craziest buzzer-beater.

With 0.8 seconds left, he caught an in-bounds pass on the run on the right wing, hoisted up a prayer of a three and watched as it banked it as the buzzer sounded.

It’s pretty fantastic:

And it also clearly left his hands before time expired, but there was a reason for that. According to the officials, the clock (for the road team, mind you) did not start when the ball was caught.

They were right.

Where they were wrong was determining that it took more than a second for Webb to catch and release the shot, meaning that they were wrong to waive off the bucket.

This awesome slo-mo clip of the shot from Matt Stephens of the Coloradoan is all the evidence I need, but if you need more, Sportscenter anchor Scott Van Pelt clocked it at 0.7 seconds:

The game would go to overtime, where Colorado State would go on to win, 97-93.

As you can imagine, Boise State players and coaches were livid with the call.

“I hope it’s not a situation where you get an apology later but don’t get the win. I don’t understand it,” head coach Leon Rice said in a radio interview after the game. “I hope they got it right somehow, some way. I don’t know. It didn’t look right to me, but I’m not the official.”

This comes just four days after officials blew a call in a game between New Mexico and San Diego State that allowed the Aztecs to force overtime and eventually beat the Lobos. (That call may have determined the outcome of the Mountain West regular season title, to boot.)

New Mexico was essentially told, “my bad”, but the league as a result.

And Boise State will probably get the same treatment despite the fact that, if the league determines that the referees botched this call as well, the tame technically was over then.

Will they have the guts to award the Broncos a road win that they earned and deserve?

I doubt it.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement from the officiating crew:

Tulsa rallies to hand No. 16 SMU 1st home loss 82-77

Tulsa guard James Woodard (10) shoots a free throw during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against SMU Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Dallas.  Tulsa won 82-77. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
(AP Photo/LM Otero)
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DALLAS (AP) Shaquille Harrison had 21 points, Pat Birt hit a crucial 3-pointer and scored 12 of his 17 points after halftime and Tulsa rallied from eight points down in the second half to beat No. 16 SMU 82-77 on Wednesday night.

Nic Moore scored 27 to lead the Mustangs (20-3, 9-3 American Athletic). They lost for the first time in 13 home games and dropped to 2-3 since their 18-0 start to a season that won’t include postseason play because of NCAA sanctions.

Moore twice hit 3-pointers to pull SMU within a point in the final minute, but Birt answered the first with a 3 and James Woodard followed the second with two of his six free throws in the final 1:04.

The Golden Hurricane (16-8, 8-4) ended a four-game losing streak against SMU with their eighth win in 10 games since an 0-2 conference start.