No. 6 Oregon downs Oregon State 80-59, wins share of Pac-12
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon coach Dana Altman figures it could be decades before his players truly appreciate what it means to win consecutive Pac-12 championships.
For now, the sixth-ranked Ducks donned special T-shirts commemorating the accomplishment after defeating rival Oregon State 80-59 on Saturday for a share of the regular-season title.
Oregon (27-4, 16-2) finished tied atop the final conference standings with No. 7 Arizona, which also went 16-2 in league play after a 73-60 victory over Arizona State earlier in the day.
It was the sixth time Oregon has claimed the crown or at least a share of it. Last year, the Ducks won it outright.
"To be able to win it back-to-back — I think the guys will really realize the significance of it when they bring their kids back to Oregon someday," Altman said. "Ten years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now when they're back, they'll look at those banners and they'll realize conference championships are hard — unless you're Kansas where they win them all the time — but they're hard for the rest of us."
Dillon Brooks scored 25 points for the Ducks and Jordan Bell had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The next stop for Oregon is the Pac-12 Tournament, which starts Wednesday in Las Vegas. Because the Ducks routed Arizona 85-58 on Feb. 4 at home, Oregon gets the top seed in the tournament and a first-round bye.
Oregon's 16 conference victories represent the most in school history. Following last year's run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament, the Ducks were picked to finish first in the preseason conference poll.
"It's extremely special. I think to do it two years in a row, it's what you play for, to win championships," said Casey Benson, who had 14 points.
Drew Eubanks had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Oregon State, which trailed by as many as 25 while the Ducks pulled away in the second half.
"We didn't shoot very well and we didn't defend very well, and when you do that it's hard to win basketball games," Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said.
The Beavers (5-26, 1-17) were hurt this season by the loss of sophomore Tres Tinkle, the coach's son, who broke his right wrist against Fresno State on Nov. 25. Oregon State center Cheikh N'diaye has missed 22 games with a shoulder injury.
Oregon State's lone conference win came at home against Utah, 68-67, on Feb. 19.
Brooks opened the game with a dunk, but Oregon State pulled out to a 9-8 lead on Eubanks' dunk. JaQuori McLaughlin extended the advantage with a layup.
Benson's 3-pointer pushed Oregon's lead to 22-13, but the Beavers went on a 9-0 run to tie it, capped by Eubanks' layup. Oregon answered with a 10-2 spurt to go into halftime with a 32-24 lead.
Brooks led all scorers at the break with 12 points.
Oregon began to pull away in the second half, going up 38-26 on Dylan Ennis' layup. Bell's basket pushed the lead to 57-35 with 12:19 left.
It was the 348th meeting between the teams, making it the most contested rivalry in college basketball. The series dates to 1903.
Oregon: Brooks was the reigning Pac-12 player of the week after averaging 18 points on 52 percent shooting during the Ducks' road sweep of California and Stanford last week.
Oregon State: Wayne Tinkle needs one win to reach 200 for his career. ... The Beavers lead the series 186-162. ... It was the first sellout at Gill Coliseum for the Beavers' men's team this season. ... Former Beavers great Gary Payton was at the game with his son Gary Payton II, who also played at Oregon State.
Arizona and Oregon should remain in the top 10 heading into the conference tournament. Third-ranked UCLA was set to host Washington State later Saturday night. The Pac-12 is the only conference in the nation with three teams in the top 10. As many as five teams could make the NCAA Tournament.
SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE
Altman complimented co-champion Arizona.
"If we're going to share it with anybody, that's a good team to share it with because they are tough," he said. "It's going to be really interesting in Vegas. It's going to be a lot of fun."
For its part, Arizona's official Twitter account posted congratulations to the Ducks shortly after the game.
Oregon: As the top seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, the Ducks have a first-round bye.
Oregon State: The last-place Beavers will play No. 5 seed California when the conference tournament opens Wednesday.
This story has been corrected to clarify that Oregon was eliminated from 2016 NCAA Tournament in the Elite Eight.
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