Oregon basketball: Ducks are No. 1 in Pac-12, beat USC 76-66

By The Sports Xchange  |  March 5, 2016 at 8:50 PM
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LOS ANGELES -- Oregon did not want to share the Pac-12 basketball title.

Freshman guard Tyler Dorsey scored 19 points to lead the ninth-ranked Ducks to a 76-66 win over USC on Saturday at Galen Center.

Oregon (25-6) wrapped up the outright conference championship by finishing at 14-4 for its first Pac-12 title since 2002.

"You can always try to prepare yourself, but when it really happens, it is amazing," senior forward Dwayne Benjamin said. "You can't explain it, no words."

Senior forward Elgin Cook added 17 points and Benjamin had 14, while sophomore forward Jordan Bell had 10 points as the Ducks finished the season with five straight victories to claim the fifth conference title in school history.

"I'm really happy for the guys," Oregon coach Dana Altman said. "This doesn't happen very often so I want the guys to enjoy it. This is history. We want to chance that and get a few more, but we just don't have that many championships to hold on to."

Oregon built a 15-point lead in the first half, but USC rallied to take a 50-48 lead midway through the second half before the Ducks went back into the lead.

"It feels amazing," Cook said. "Me and my teammates went out and competed and coach did a great job putting us in situations to be successful. USC is a great team but we fought hard."

Junior forwards Katin Reinhardt and Nikola Jovanovic each scored 12 points for the Trojans, who finished the regular season 9-9 in the conference and 20-11 overall heading into the conference tournament next week.

"It's good to know we can battle against a top-10 team," Reinhardt said. "It's a whole new season starting Wednesday for us and we're really excited about it."

Oregon led 44-37 at halftime, but Jovanovic gave the Trojans a 50-48 lead before senior center Chris Boucher tied the game for Oregon with a rebound basket.

Bell put Oregon ahead before Reinhardt scored again to tie it 52-52. Dorsey got to the rim for a basket that put Oregon ahead 54-52 and Bell stretched the lead to 56-53 before sophomore guard Jordan McLaughlin scored for USC.

Oregon sophomore forward Dillon Brooks scored his first basket of the game with 7:55 left to play to put Oregon ahead 58-55. Cook scored and sophomore guard Casey Benson hit a 3-pointer to push Oregon's lead to 63-56 and Benjamin got a tip-in as Oregon went ahead by seven points.

Jovanovic made three free throws and Dorsey followed with a 3-pointer that made Oregon's lead to 68-61. Benjamin added a 3-pointer that increased the lead to 71-61 with 1:25 left to play.

USC started senior Strahinja Gavrilovic and he scored the first four points of the game before Cook scored for the Ducks. Sophomore guard Elijah Stewart hit a 3-pointer and Reinhardt had four straight points to push the Trojans' lead to 11-4.

Benson converted a three-point play to get the Ducks within 11-7 before freshman center Chimezie Metu scored four straight USC points to push the led to 15-9. Cook got a tip-in and drove for a basket to get Oregon within 15-13 before Dorsey scored to tie the game 15-15.

Oregon scored nine straight points to take a 31-19 lead, but Stewart made a 3-pointer before the power went out in the arena to cause a 20-minute delay.

Dorsey scored to give Oregon its biggest lead at 37-22 before USC scored on its final seven possessions of the first half to get within seven at the break.

NOTES: The Ducks, who improved to 16-0 when holing opponents under 70 points, are the top seed for the league tournament this week in Las Vegas. ... Oregon swept the Los Angeles schools, having beaten UCLA 76-68 on Thursday, when freshman G Tyler Dorsey scored 20 points. ... The Ducks were 18-0 at home this season. ... USC F Strahinja Gavrilovic of Serbia made his fifth career start in 79 games on Senior Day. The Trojans' lone senior scored their first four points.

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