Joseph Young

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Joseph Young’s big night leads No. 8 Oregon to a win and a potential shot at No. 1 Wisconsin

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Joseph Young finished with 27 points and four assists while Elgin Cook and Dillon Brooks combined for 35 points, 9 boards and six assists as No. 8 Oregon advanced past No. 9 Oklahoma State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, 79-73.

Young was the Pac-12 Player of the Year this season and is one of the nation’s most dangerous scorers, and he proved it on Friday night. At one point, he went on a personal 15-3 run to close the first, netting 23 of his 25 in an eight minute stretch that spanned both halves. The surge started with Oregon down 36-28 and ended with the Ducks up 54-49, with Young capping it with this dunk.

From there. Elgin Cook and Dillon Brooks did the heavy lifting, scoring 14 of the final 25 Oregon points as the Ducks hung on to win.

In all likelihood, Oregon will advance to take on No. 1 Wisconsin in the Round of 32, a matchup where the Ducks certainly will need Young to continue his terrific play. The Badgers have one of the nation’s best on-ball defenders in Josh Gasser, which, when combined with the fact that Wisconsin is, you know, awesome, it’s going to take a near-perfect game for Oregon to pull the upset.

POSTERIZED: Oregon’s Joseph Young takes flight against Oklahoma State

Joseph Young, Anthony Hickey Jr.
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Oregon senior guard Joseph Young is the Pac-12 Player of the Year for a reason. The dude gets buckets at a high level, and Young put down one of the most ferocious dunks of the 2015 NCAA Tournament on Friday evening.

On a give-and-go, the 6-foot-2 elevated over the defender he beat on a backdoor cut for a fantastic finish at the rim.

(Vine credit: Ryan Kras)

Joe Young sends Oregon to Pac 12 Tournament championship game with deep, last-second three

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Joe Young was called for a charge with 12 seconds left. After Delon Wright tied the score at 64-all, Young, the Pac 12 Conference Player of the Year was given was last chance.

Young’s 25-foot game-winner helped send Oregon, a team with low expectations entering the season, into the Pac 12 Tournament championship game to face No. 5 Arizona.

Jordan Bell produced a highlight-worthy sequence in Oregon’s win at Stanford (VIDEO)

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For some bubble teams, picking up a signature victory can result in them resting on their laurels and suffering a setback (or two) in the aftermath. That hasn’t been the case for Oregon, which followed up a home win over then-No. 9 Utah with road victories over California and Stanford this weekend in their first sweep of the Bay Area road swing since 1976.

And in the Ducks’ 73-70 win at Stanford on Sunday, freshman forward Jordan Bell produced an impressive sequence that at the time changed the momentum of the game.

It all started on the defensive end, and that’s fitting for Bell considering the fact that he’s already the school record-holder for blocked shots in a season (81 and counting). With a teammate down on the floor, Bell rotated over to block a Stefan Nastic layup attempt and then took off to the other end of the court.

And as Joseph Young approached half court Bell raised his right hand, calling for the lob to the basket, and he finished the play with a two-handed dunk. Yet while this was an impressive play by one of the Pac-12’s best athletes, what’s more impressive is the way Dana Altman’s team has played in close games.

With Sunday’s win the Ducks, who are 22-8 overall and 12-5 in conference play, won for the eighth time in their last nine games and is now 6-0 in games decided by five points or less. And given the many new faces, including Bell, on the roster that’s a noteworthy achievement for the Ducks.

Also of note is the fact that Oregon has wrapped up a first-round by in the Pac-12 tournament, which puts them in position to avoid a “nothing to win but everything to lose” resume-killer against one of the conference’s poorer teams in their tournament opener.

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Oregon beats No. 9 Utah, adding much-needed win to its NCAA tournament resume

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Five days ago with the team facing home games against Colorado and No. 9 Utah, Oregon senior guard Joseph Young guaranteed that the Ducks would wind up in the NCAA tournament. After beating the Buffaloes on Wednesday, Young and his teammates completed the home sweep with a 69-58 win over the Runnin’ Utes in Eugene, adding a much-needed quality win for their NCAA tournament resume.

Young didn’t shoot particularly well, scoring 14 points on 5-for-16 shooting (1-for-8 3PT), but he had plenty of help from his teammates. Freshman forward Dillon Brooks, who within the course of a year has gone from reclassifying from the Class of 2016 to being one of the Pac-12’s best freshmen, scored 19 points (two of which can be seen in the video above) and grabbed seven rebounds and Elgin Cook added 12 points.

Oregon shot 45.5% from the field on Sunday, but what really won the game for the Ducks was their matchup zone. Head coach Dana Altman made the move in the second half, and the zone successfully slowed down the Runnin’ Utes. Utah shot 36.5% from the field, and outside of the efficient Delon Wright (6-for-9 FG, 4-for-4 FT, 20 points) they struggled mightily from the field.

Brandon Taylor shot 2-for-10 from the field, with all of his shot attempts being three-pointers, and Jordan Loveridge shot 2-for-8. Outside of Wright, the lone player who had success penetrating the Oregon matchup zone, no Utah player scored more than seven points (Loveridge) on the day. Twenty-nine of Utah’s 52 field goal attempts were three-pointers, which is far too high a number when considering both the presence of Jakob Poeltl and Utah’s overall size advantage in the front court.

Oregon was able to use the zone looks to limit the post touches for Utah’s big men, and that resulted in the Ducks picking up their biggest win of the season to date.

Prior to Sunday, Oregon’s two RPI Top 50 wins came against Illinois (in Chicago) and UCLA (at home, and the Bruins were without Tony Parker) and their three KenPom Top 50 wins came against UCLA and Arizona State (twice). Regardless of which ratings system one prefers, there’s no denying the fact that this was a huge victory for Oregon as they look to return to the NCAA tournament.

With three road games and the Pac-12 tournament remaining on their schedule, Oregon may make a prophet out of their senior point guard.

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Weekly Awards: Karl Towns shows us his best, Oklahoma State back in the Big 12 convo

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Karl Towns (Getty Images)

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Karl Towns, Kentucky

Kentucky put together a pair of solid wins this week, knocking off Georgia at home before going into the O-Dome and taking Florida’s best shot before beating the Gators. Towns, in those two games, played his best basketball since he arrived in Lexington, averaging 17.0 points, 10.5 boards, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocks in the two wins.

It’s not just the numbers for Towns, because if he were consistently playing 31 minutes every night on a team where the offensive was built around him, he could probably put up numbers like that for an entire season. It’s the little things that he showed an ability to do, like a deft over-the-head pass for a dunk out of a double-team or reading a defender trying to anticipate how Towns would use a screen. We know Towns can block shots and we know that he can get to the offensive glass. We’ve even seen him do a decent job switching onto guards while defending ball-screens.

If there’s a knock on Kentucky this season, it’s that they don’t score all that well in half court settings. When Towns is making plays like that, the Wildcats are that much more dangerous.


  • Marcus Posley, St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies went 2-0 this week, and Posley is the one to thank. He hit buzzer-beating game-winners in wins over No. 18 VCU and Davidson.
  • Joseph Young, Oregon: Young led the Ducks to wins over the Washington schools this week, averaging 30.5 points, 6.5 boards and 5.0 assists. He shot 22-for-37 from the floor and 7-for-14 from three, and suddenly, the Ducks are tied for third in the Pac-12, just two games behind Arizona and Utah.
  • Rico Gathers, Baylor: The Bears have won five of their last six games, including a pair of blowout wins against TCU and at West Virginia. Gathers had 31 points and 33 boards in those two wins.
  • Justise Winslow, Duke: Winslow went for 15 points and 10 boards in a win over Georgia Tech, following that up with 19 points and 11 boards in Saturday’s beatdown of Notre Dame. He’s now notched three straight double-doubles.
  • Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga: In a pair of road wins for the Zags, Wiltjer was the best player on the floor, averaging 25.5 points and 8.5 boards.
  • Notables: Schadrac Casimir (Iona), Jamel Artis (Pitt), Jalen Cannon (St. Francis NY)
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TEAM OF THE WEEK: Oklahoma State Cowboys

The Pokes landed a pair of critical wins this week, as they went into Texas and knocked off the Longhorns in overtime, following that up with a win over No. 8 Kansas at Gallagher-Iba Area. The Big 12 might be a bit overrated at this point, but there is no denying how much of a meat-grinder league play is in that conference. Winning two straight games against teams that could end up making the NCAA tournament — particularly when coming off of a loss — is huge. The wins also put Travis Ford’s club in a much better position in regards to the NCAA tournament.


  • Virginia: The Cavaliers beat North Carolina and Louisville this week, solidifying their place at the top of the national rankings, but they also lost Justin Anderson in the process.
  • Iowa: The Hawkeyes bounced back from a three-game losing streak with blowout wins at Michigan and over No. 17 Maryland at home.
  • Boise State: The Broncos are suddenly in the bubble conversation and tied for first place (in the loss column) in the Mountain West after wins at Utah State and over San Diego State this week. They’ve won seven straight.
  • Arizona State: The Sun Devils beat arch rival Arizona at home on Saturday afternoon. It won’t be enough for them to get into the NCAA tournament picture, but a win over a rival can make a bad season worthwhile.
  • Harvard: The Crimson have now won four straight road games in Ivy League play, culminating with a win at Yale on Saturday night.


  • No. 11 Iowa State at No. 21 Oklahoma, Mon. 9:00 p.m.
  • No. 1 Kentucky at LSU, Tue. 7:00 p.m.
  • No. 19 Baylor at No. 8 Kansas, Sat. 1:00 p.m.
  • No. 18 VCU at George Washington, Sat. 2:00 p.m.
  • No. 7 Villanova at Butler, Sat. 6:00 p.m.