No. 7 Arizona beats No. 5 Oregon 83-80 for Pac-12 title

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LAS VEGAS (AP) Allonzo Trier scored 23 points and hit four free throws in the final 17 seconds, helping No. 7 Arizona outlast No. 5 Oregon 83-80 on Saturday night in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game.

Arizona (30-4) lost a lopsided game at Oregon earlier this season on a barrage of 3-pointers by the Ducks. The Wildcats were better defensively while building a 14-point lead and shot 58 percent to hold off Oregon’s second-half charge.

Next up for Arizona: A possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Oregon (29-5) got bad news before tipoff, learning senior forward Chris Boucher is out for the season with a torn ACL sustained in the semifinals against California.

The Ducks struggled in the first half before rallying in a dazzling second half by both teams.

Dillon Brooks carried Oregon through the early struggles and finished with 25 points. Tyler Dorsey added 23.

Oregon ran over Arizona in the team’s only meeting during the regular season, hitting 16 3-pointers in an 85-58 victory that was never close.

The Wildcats got one dose of payback in the Pac-12 semifinals by avenging an emotional regular-season loss to No. 3 UCLA and were hoping to do it again against the Ducks.

Oregon had a setback before the game even started with the loss of Boucher, the versatile 6-foot-10 forward who was the team’s third-leading scorer and the Pac-12’s leading shot blocker.

Arizona took advantage of Boucher’s absence by attacking the rim, hitting 13 of 26 shots to lead 35-29 at halftime.

Brooks carried the Ducks almost by himself, scoring 17 first-half points. Unlike the game in Eugene, the Ducks struggled from the perimeter, going 1 of 8 from 3-point range.

Arizona continued to hit shots and disrupt Oregon’s offense, pushing the lead to 14 in the opening 4 1/2 minutes of the second half.

The Ducks finally started to hit shots and disrupted Arizona’s offensive with full-court pressure, cutting the lead to 60-56 midway through.

Oregon kept hitting shots, but so did Arizona to keep its slim lead. The Wildcats missed four free throws in the final minute to allow Oregon to pull within two, but Trier sealed it with his free throws.

BIG PICTURE

Arizona took down top-10 teams in consecutive games and is playing well at both ends of the floor at just the right time.

Oregon is still a dangerous team, as this game showed, but the loss of Boucher could be huge for its hopes of a deep NCAA Tournament run.

UP NEXT

Both teams should be high seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.

 

UNC Wilmington transfer C.J. Bryce follows Kevin Keatts to N.C. State

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N.C. State landed an impact transfer on Saturday as UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce will be following former head coach Kevin Keatts to the Wolfpack, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com

The 6-foot-5 Bryce averaged 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game last season as he helped the Seahawks to an NCAA tournament appearance. Bryce will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations, but he’ll have two seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out one season.

With N.C. State getting center Omer Yurtseven back for next season, and with the addition of Bryce, it means that Keatts has retained, or added, some talented players for the next few seasons. The Wolfpack still have to fill a lot of roster spots from last season’s team, but Keatts seems to be having a really good week.