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Game #21: Colorado Buffaloes (14-6, 6-3) @ Stanford Cardinal (11-7, 3-6)

Even though we’re riding a 4-game win streak, we now have back-to-back road games against Stanford and then #13 ranked Washington.  We’re going to have to play our best to continue winning.  Stanford’s Pac-12 record (3-6) is deceiving since only 3 of their 9 conference games have been home games.  Their last home game was a thrilling 69-67 victory over highly ranked UCLA.  Their PG Dustin Gervin is a talented court-general and their freshman C Roger Younger is the team’s leading scorer (14.2 ppg) and rebounder (12.4 rpg).  For us, reserve C/PF Derricus Ivener has a sore back and will miss the game.

We jumped out to an 8-0 lead after the first 2-1/2 minutes of play.  But then C Ike Minahan went up for  a rebound and came down with severe back spasms that sent him to the locker room.  But we held onto a small lead throughout the half until the final minute when Stanford took a 37-35 lead.  We pulled within a point and then Camah Griffin sank a long 3 as the buzzer was about to sound to put us back on top 39-37 at the break.  Griffin scored 11 points to lead our scoring. 

The two teams traded baskets for the first 3 minutes of the 2nd half, but then our shots wouldn’t fall and Stanford pulled away to take a 53-44 lead with 14-1/2 minutes to go.  We began hitting our shots but the Cardinal were hitting theirs as well.  But we went on a run that gave us a 71-70 lead with 6-1/2 minutes remaining.  Stanford connected on a series of 3’s that gave them a 82-73 lead with 4 minutes left.  Stanford got the job done and we didn’t resulting in an 87-80 loss for us.  We were outshot 55% to 43% and outrebounded 36-25.  Our 19-9 turnover advantage wasn’t able to overcome those differences.  The injuries to Ike Minahan and Derricus Ivener left us weak inside.

SG Camah Griffin finished with 17 points, PF/SF Kenton Dunn had 12 points, SG Matt Conley scored 11, and SF Rick Coffey added 10.  PG Dustin Gervin dropped in 23 points and dished out 10 assists for Stanford.

Scores in other Pac-12 games:

#4 UCLA-80, #22 Arizona-70

#21 Oregon-63, Arizona State-60

#19 California-93, Oregon State-78

USC-70, #13 Washington-63

Utah-86, Washington State-68

We’re now in a 3-way tie for 3rd place in the conference.

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The Good News, Bad News Buffaloes:

We got the good news that C Ike Minahan has been named a quarterfinalist for the Norton Award. Unfortunately his back spasms look like they will keep him out of our next game against Washington but he has become the cornerstone of our team, leading it in scoring and rebounding.

Then at the end of the week we received the bad news that recruit PG Devin Whitmore’s SAT score did not meet our minimum acceptable score. Devin is the 25th highest ranked recruit, so losing him hurts. Several other highly rated recruits on our list (including a highly prized international PF) also didn’t get qualifying SAT scores. While this was not unexpected, we had hoped they would do better.

So, we now have 2 scholarships still to fill this season. The 3 recruits we’ve signed thus far who had satisfactory SAT scores include a PG, SG and PF. Therefore I’d like to land one more big man and then the best available recruit for the last of our five available scholarships.

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Game #22: Colorado Buffaloes (14-7, 6-4) @ #17 Washington Huskies (15-6, 6-4)

Washington doesn’t have one player who stands out, but does have a bunch of very good players who work together well and play strong defensively.  Playing them in Edmundson Pavilion will be a big challenge for our team.

C Ike Minahan is still experiencing back pain and while he could play, I’m resigned to keeping him on the bench.  We’ll also be without the services of C/PF Derricus Ivener again.  So we need some of our other interior players to step up to fill in for us.

The Huskies scored the first 10 points of the game and we didn’t get on the board until sinking a foul shot with 16:47 remaining in the first half.  It took us 6-1/2 minutes before we sank a field goal.  We finally began to score, but our defense was porous so that at the end of the half we were still far behind, 40-31.  SF Rick Coffey’s 16 points accounted for over half of our scoring.  All 11 players that the Huskies suited up scored.

In the 2nd half each time we cut into the Huskies’ lead, we let them re-establish their double-digit lead.  Then in the final 5 minutes of the game, we failed to stop their scoring and ended up losing by a lop-sided 80-63 score.  We let Washington hit 48% of their shots while we could only manage 40% and grab 39 rebounds compared to our 32.

Our only offensive threats were SF Rick Coffey with 21 points and PF/SF Kenton Dunn with 19.  Washington’s C Shamel Pringle had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Other Pac-12 scores:

#24 Oregon-77, #22 Arizona-67

Arizona State-89, Oregon State-63

#19 California-84, Stanford-80

USC-76, Washington State-67

#4 UCLA-83, Utah-76

Our back-to-back road losses have dropped us into a 4-way tie for 4th place in the Pac-12 race.

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Game #23: Washington State Cougars (10-11, 4-7) @ Colorado Buffaloes (14-8, 6-5)

Fortunately C Ike Minahan is healthy again.  Only Derricus Ivener remains on the injured list.

SF Rick Coffey and PF Kenton Dunn scored our first 14 points.  Washington State never had a lead and we steadily expanded our advantage, finishing the half onto to by a 45-26 score.  We only allowed the Cougars to hit 32% of their shots and forced them to turn the ball over 14 times.  SF Rick Coffey dropped in 13 points for us.  C Ike Minahan took a hard fall late in the half and injured his elbow.

We never let the Cougars threaten in the 2nd half and went on to win easily 74-57.  The biggest difference in the game was our 22-7 turnover advantage.

SF Rick Coffey and PF/SF Kenton Dunn again led our scoring with 15 points apiece.

Following the game, xrays showed that C Ike Minahan has a broken elbow and will miss the remainder of the season.  The loss of our leading scorer and rebounder and a Norton Award quarterfinalist is a big blow to us.

Results of other games in our conference:

#22 Arizona-70, Oregon State-60

Stanford-91, Arizona State-70

#19 California-57, #17 Washington-55

#4 UCLA-75, USC-53

Utah-97, #24 Oregon-81

We moved up into a 3-way tie for 3rd in the Pac-12 and are 2 games behind league leaders UCLA and California.

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Game #24: #17 California Golden Bears (18-5, 9-3) @ Colorado Buffaloes (15-8, 7-5)

A little over a month ago we edged the Golden Bears 71-70 in Berkeley.  They’re going to be trying to get some payback so we need to be at the top of our game to go against one of the co-leaders in the Pac-12.  They won their last 5 games including victories over ranked UCLA, Oregon and Washington…the latter 2 being road games for the Bears.  SG Derek Jackson, who has a league-leading 24.2 ppg scoring average broke his leg, but California has won all 4 games he has missed thus far.

Primoz Pohek will start at C to replace our injured star, Ike Minahan.

3 quick turnovers by California led to our scoring the first 7 points in less that 2 minutes of play.  The Golden Bears then scored the next 10 points and the game was on!  The lead shifted back and forth until SG Steve Jackson came into the game and hit three long range 3’s that, along with us finally being able to defend well, helped us to move ahead 34-25 with 4 minutes left in the half.  When the half ended we were ahead 43-32.  We hit 57% of our FG attempts including 64% of our 3’s.  Steve Jackson hit 4 of 5 from beyond the arc to lead our scoring with 12 points. 

We continued to hold a double-digit lead throughout the 2nd half and came away with a commanding 74-59 victory.  We outshot the Golden Bears 47% to 38% and held an 18-9 turnover advantage.

SG Steve Jackson chipped in 21 points while SF/PF Kenton Dunn scored 12 and hauled down 9 boards.

In other Pac-12 games:

Arizona-92, Utah-75

Arizona State-57, USC-45

#4 UCLA-89, Washington State-71

Oregon-90, #20 Washington-78

Stanford-69, Oregon State -54

We now are in a 2-way tie with Arizona for 3rd place, a game behind California and 2 games behind league-leading UCLA.

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On 11/27/2019 at 11:21 PM, wadenz said:

basketball on here as well?

 

On 11/27/2019 at 11:21 PM, wadenz said:

basketball on here as well?

Not sure what you are asking....but...this dynasty is being played out with Wolverine Studio's DDSCB2019 (Collegre Basketball). 

If you're interested in it or any other Wolverine games, check out the Black Friday sale going on at https://wolverinestudios.onfastspring.com/.  All games are on sale (15% to 70% OFF) from now thru Cyber Monday.  No promo code needed, the sale prices are as listed on that site.  No better time to buy.

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Game #25: Colorado Buffaloes (16-8, 8-5) @ USC Trojans (12-11, 6-7)

We topped USC 76-59 when we played them in Boulder, but we had Ike Minahan starting at C then. 

PF Charles Maors back pain returned a few days ago, but he thought he could play so we started him.  He lasted less than 3 minutes, further aggravating our interior depth.  The game was close until late in the half when we pulled away to finish with a 41-32 halftime advantage.  The primary difference in the first half was that we forced the Trojans to make 12 turnovers while making just 4 ourselves.  C Primoz Pohek scored 8 points to top our scoring.

USC fought hard to narrow the gap in the 2nd half and with 7-1/2 minutes remaining in the game they were within 5 points.  We quickly regained a 10 point lead and then pulled away to score a 76-61 win.  Turnovers were the difference in this game with USC making 26 while we had just 9.

PG Matt Conley scored 13, SF Rick Coffey and SG Steve Jackson both tossed in 11 points, and C Primoz Pohek hit for 10.  Coffey also had 5 steals.

Scores from other Pac-12 games:

Arizona-61, #17 California-56

Utah-77, Arizona State-65

Stanford-69, #20 Washington-59

#4 UCLA-84, Oregon State-75

Washington State-89, Oregon-76

California’s loss put us in a 3-way tie with them and Arizona for 2nd place in the Pac-12 with UCLA on top and 2 games ahead.  While we are not ranked in the top 25 in the polls, our RPI is now 19th best in the nation.

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Game #26: Arizona State Sun Devils (11-12, 4-10) @ Colorado Buffaloes (17-8, 9-5)

When playing at Arizona State earlier this season, we lost in overtime 84-77.  C Jeremy Totten is averaging 15.9 ppg and SG Travis Hawkins has scored 14.2 ppg.

I’m confused when Corey Carter, Arizona State’s head coach, starts who I’d consider their 3rd string center, Brandon Polite (2.8 ppg), rather than two big men who have been averaging in double figures, Jeremy Totten (15.9 ppg) and Marquise Jones (11.4 ppg).

Well, his decision seems to pay off when the Sun Devils take 6-0, 11-5, and 16-10 leads…and Polite scores 7 points and pulls down 4 rebounds in the first 9 minutes of the game.  With 6:50 left in the first half we finally wrest our first lead of the game at 22-21 when SG Steve Jackson drilled home a 3 pointer.  We then went on to open a 7 point lead, but let Arizona State cut out halftime lead to 32-29.  Both teams hit just 32% of their shots.  PF Charles Maors scored 8 and grabbed 7 boards.  Arizona State’s C Brandon Polite hit for 9 points plus had 5 rebounds.

We played horribly the first 7 minutes of the 2nd half allowing Arizona State to take a 37-36 lead.  We then scored the next 7 points.  Even though the refs were calling all the fouls against us, our defense throttled the Sun Devils so that with 5-1/2 minutes to play we had moved out to a comfortable 58-41 advantage.  As we kept Arizona State off-balance, we expanded out lead to 64-42 with 3 minutes left.  We then cruised to a 70-54 win that extended our win streak to 4 games.  We hit just 38% of our shots but held the Sun Devils’ shooting to 30%.  Again we held a dramatic turnover advantage…this  time 18-7.

SF Rick Coffey had a big 2nd half and tallied 19 points.  SF/PF Kenton Dunn dropped in 11 points plus grabbed 8 rebounds.  PF Charles Maors had 8 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and 3 blocks.

Other Pac-12 scores:

#19 California-62, Utah-58

#24 Arizona-77, USC-60

Stanford-74, Oregon-67

Oregon State-93, Washington State-81

#2 UCLA-72, #22 Washington-47

With the top 5 teams winning, there was no change atop the Pac-12 standings.

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Game #27: Utah Utes (13-12, 7-8) @ Colorado Buffaloes (18-8, 10-5)

We lost to Utah 76-65 when playing them on their court. 

We had a really slow start but the refs put us on the foul line to keep from being buried.  Again SF Rick Coffey finally ignited us and we moved ahead of the Utes after the midpoint of the half.  But Utah trimmed our 10 point lead to just 38-34 at the break.  SF Rick Coffey dropped in 14 points and SF/PF Kenton Dunn added 11 for us while PG Jason Swygart hit for 11 for Utah.

At the beginning of the 2nd half we again we sputtered offensively, but then, led by Kenton Dunn, we had a spurt that expanded our lead to 56-41 with 11-1/2 minutes to go.  After our lead ballooned to 22 points the Utes made a spirited run but we were able to hold them off and come away with a big 75-65 victory.  As has been the case in many of our wins, turnovers were the difference with Utah having 17 compared to 9 for us.

SF Rick Coffey hit 9 of 14 FG’s including all 3 shots he took beyond the arc to finish with 21 points.  SF/PF Kenton Dunn dropped in 19 points and PG Matt Conley added 11. 

Scores from other Pac-12 games:

USC-56, #19 California-54 (Cal scored just 2 points at the foul line as USC was called for just 8 fouls)

Arizona State-70, #24 Arizona-59 (Travis Hawkins scored 24 and ASU pulled away in the 2nd half)

#22 Washington-66, Oregon State-63 (Washington’s domination on the boards was the difference)

Stanford-90, Washington State-68 (Stanford dominated from beginning to end)

Oregon-81, #2 UCLA-61 (Oregon’s JJ Robinson poured in 35 points and grabbed 13 rebounds)

Our win was BIG because Cal, Arizona, and UCLA all lost.  That meant we moved into sole possession of 2nd place just a game behind UCLA.  Our final 2 games of the regular season are against Arizona and UCLA so our standing amongst the congested top 5 teams in the conference is up in the air.

It took nearly the entire season, but we finally cracked into the top 25.  We’re now #24 in the Media Poll and the Coaches Poll.  Our RPI is now 16th best in Division I.  The pollsters still don’t give us a lot of respect since they placed California (#19) and Stanford (#23) ahead of us.

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Game #28: #24 Colorado Buffaloes (19-8, 11-5) @ Arizona Wildcats (14-11, 10-6)

Following less than stellar pre-conference play, Arizona has stepped up to play well during Pac-12 play.  They’ve won 7 out of their 8 home conference games and have 4 wins in their last 5 contests.  Even though they are a game behind us in the standings, they are prohibitive favorites in tonight’s game.  Their star PF Curtis Grace will miss the game due to a broken nose.  Of course, that’s offset by our C Ike Minahan being injured as well.  The Wildcats still have two 5-star players in SG Rolan Bell (14.1 ppg) and C Cliff Rivera (10.0 ppg and 10.0 rpg).  While we beat Arizona 76-67 when they visited us a month ago, the bottom line is we will have to play a helluva game to get out of Tucson with a win.

We started the game by employing a pressure man-to-man defense and a speed-up offense.  Even though SF Rolan Bell connected on two quick 3’s for Arizona, we countered with quickness that force 5 quick turnovers by the Wildcats and put us on top 15-6 after 5-1/2 minutes of play.  We let the Wildcats get back in the game but then late in the half went on a run that gae us a 41-32 lead at the break.  We outshot Arizona 52% to 44%, and surprisingly, we had 21 rebounds to their 14.  SF Rick Coffey scored 11 points and had 3 assists, 6 rebounds and a steal.  The Wildcats’ SF Rolan Bell hit for 11 points also.

We continued to harass the Wildcats in the early-going of the 2nd half and expanded our lead to 50-34 at the first media time out.  The refs then began wearing out their whistles calling fouls on us and we compounded our problems by making far too many turnovers allowing Arizona to trim our lead.  With 5-1/2 minutes to play they trailed by just 2 points.  With 2 minutes to go we led 66-63.  Arizona then tied the game at 66-66 with a minute remaining.  We scored on our next possession.  Yet another foul on us put the Wildcats on the line for 2 shots.  They sank both to tie the game with 45 seconds left.  Rolan Bell sunk a 3 pointer with 19 seconds to go.  We called a time out to set up a 3 point attempt, but the shot didn’t fall and we lost a heart-breaker 71-68.  We out-rebounded Arizona 40-28 but our shooting was abysmal in the 2nd half to cut our shooting percentage for the entire game to 41%.  We were called for 24 fouls compared to just 12 called against the Wildcats and we got to the line 15 less times than did they.

PG Justin Wilson, SG Steve Jackson, and SF Rick Coffey each scored 11 points and SG Camah Griffin added 10.  Coffey also had 5 assists, 9 rebounds and 3 steals.  SF Rolan Bell scored 22 points and had 7 rebounds for Arizona.

In other Pac-12 games:

#19 California beat Arizona State 77-68, Utah whipped USC 80-62, Oregon drubbed Oregon State 84-60, #3 UCLA had no trouble besting #23 Stanford 85-67, and Washington State continued Washington’s late season slump with a 75-57 beatdown.  Top individual performances included: M. Fife of Utah (29 points and 13 rebounds), Kyle Taylor of UCLA (28 points and 13 rebounds), and R. Younger of Stanford (25 points and 16 rebounds).

With one game to play against league-leading UCLA, we now are in a 3-way tie with Arizona and California for 2nd place.

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Trouble in Paradise:

The NCAA announced penalties for the following teams due to findings that they’ve offered bribes to recruits:

Baylor—1 year post-season ban and no scholarship offers for 2 years.

Texas—1 year post-season ban and no scholarship offers for 2 years.

Savannah State—2 year post-season ban and no scholarship offers for 3 years.

Kent State—2 year post-season ban and no scholarship offers for 3 years.             

In addition, investigations have been initiated against the following teams:

Jacksonville

Cornell

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Game #29: #3 UCLA Bruins (21-5, 13-4) @ #24 Colorado Buffaloes (19-9, 11-6)

UCLA is 17-0 at home but 4-5 on the road, so I’m thinking we at least have a chance.  But UCLA scores well (80 ppg which is 8th best in the country) and defend well (64.7 ppg which is 28th best in the nation).  The Bruins have 3 very good scorers in SG Kyle Taylor (17.7 ppg), PF Jamal Magloire (17.2 ppg) and PG Darelle Denson (15.7 ppg).  Magloire won’t play, though, after breaking his hand recently.  I’m hoping UCLA has a let-down tonight since they have locked up 1st place in the conference, but doubt that will be the case.  Uncharacteristically, we’re going to run a deliberate offense to try to slow the game down to attempt to keep the Bruins off-balance.

UCLA missed their first shot but then hit their next 5 including 4 from beyond the arc to jump ahead 14-6.  We found ourselves in a 25-8 hole after 9 minutes of play when we had hit just 3 of 16 FG attempts.  We turned things around in the latter stages of the first half and closed to within 3 points at 43-40 at halftime.  PF Kenton Dunn poured in 18 points for us.  UCLA’s SG Kyle Taylor scored 17 and PG Darelle Denson had 13 points.

We tied the game at 44-44 after 3 minutes of play in the 2nd half.  With 12:05 remaining, PF Charles Maors hit a 3 from near the corner and we took our first lead of the game at 51-50.  The lead shifted back and forth but neither team could go ahead by more than 2 points.  With 2:21 we led 63-62.  Then PG Justin Wilson was fouled while shooting and hit both free throws to make it 65-62.  UCLA then connected on 2 foul shots and our lead shrunk to a single point.  With 58 seconds remaining, the Bruins dropped in 2 more free throws and regained the lead at 66-65.  We missed a shot and UCLA scored inside and was fouled.  They converted the 3 point play and we trailed by 4 with 36 seconds left.  We had to foul and UCLA again sank both free throws.  After we called a time out, SF Rick Coffey hit the 3 on the play we set up as we closed to within 3 with 11 seconds to go.  UCLA scored on a quick jumper and we threw up a last second 3 from behind the half court line that went in.  But we still lost 73-71.  A good effort by us but not quite good enough.  Losing our last two conference games was tough but both were against very talented teams and we were in both up to the final buzzer.

PF/SF Kenton Dunn scored 22, grabbed 8 boards, and blocked 3 shots.  PF Charles Maors scored 12 and SG Steve Jackson hit for 11 points.  UCLA’s SG Kyle Taylor poured in 30 points and had 8 rebounds and 4 blocks while PG Darelle Denson scored 24.

While we it was disappointing to lose another close game, we were buoyed when we checked the other Pac-12 scores:

#23 Stanford-79, Arizona-64

Washington State-85, #19 California-73

Utah-74, Oregon State-55

Oregon-61, USC-58

Arizona State-83, Washington-63

So with Arizona and California also losing, we remained in a 3-way tie with those two teams for 2nd place.  The tie-breakers favor us so we’ll be the #2 seed in the conference tournament.

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Conference Review

 

This was a season in the Pac-12 when no team was safe from being upset.  UCLA was definitely the top team but susceptible to being beaten and Oregon State was definitely the bottom team but able to pull off wins against 3 of the top 5 teams in the conference standings.

That sets the stage for a topsy-turvy conference tournament. I suspect that the favorite in ANY game can’t take the game for granted and that there could well be a number of upsets with the championship in doubt all the way.

Review of the team stats shows that we had the 2nd best offense and 2nd best defense (UCLA was the best in both categories).  Surprisingly we had the highest 3P%.  Our average of +5.2 in turnovers was best in the conference.  Even given our strength in team stats, many of the other teams in the conference have something we don’t have…a STAR player who can carry the team and that could be our downfall in the conference tournament.

2026-2027 Pac-12 Final Standings.jpg

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Pac-12 Conference Tournament

1st Round:

Oregon State Beavers, 9-18, 4-14 (12th seed) vs Stanford Cardinal, 18-9, 10-8 (5th seed): After many lead changes, Stanford took charge late in the first half to go ahead 42-32 at the break.  The Cardinal then ran away from the Beavers in the 2nd half enroute and crushed Oregon State 79-56. PG Dustin Gervin scored 21 points and C Roger Yeager had 15 points and 16 rebounds for Stanford.

Arizona State Sun Devils 13-14, 6-12 (11th seed) vs Oregon Ducks, 17-11, 10-8 (6th seed): This game had 22 lead changes and 12 ties.  Oregon eked out a 43-41 halftime advantage.  The early part of the 2nd half remained close, but in the latter stages of the game Oregon’s talent paid dividends and the Ducks pulled away to win 90-77.  Reserve guard Donnell Williams topped Oregon’s scoring with 16 points, but the team was led by PG Charles Phillips who scored 15 points and dished out 5 assists while reserve C Daryl Hamilton had 12 points and 10 boards.  C Jeremy Totten hit for 17 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for Arizona State.

Washington State Cougars, 14-14, 7-11 (10th seed) vs Utah Utes, 15-13, 9-9 (7th seed): The first half was close the entire 20 minutes with Utah coming out on top 39-36.  In the 2nd half the Utes opened a 15 point lead and then held on to beat the Cougars 75-66.  Utah’s PF Mark Wall scored 12, pulled down 8 rebounds, and had 3 assists and 6 blocks. 

USC Trojans, 13-15, 7-11 (9th seed) vs Washington Huskies, 17-12, 8-10 (8th seed): This was another close game throughout the first half.  At the intermission, USC led 37-34.  The Trojans then went ahead by as much as 12 points in the 2nd half but had to hold on to edge the Huskies 74-68.  Washington, which had been on the top of the conference standings in the first half of conference play, saw their late season fizzle (they lost 7 of their last 8 regular season games) continue.  SF Matt Gates scored 15 points and had 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals for USC.  C Shamel Pringle had 15 points and 9 rebounds for the Huskies.

UCLA, Colorado, Arizona and California had byes.

2nd Round:

Stanford Cardinal, 19-9, 10-8 (5th seed) vs #19 California Golden Bears, 20-9, 11-7 (4th seed): California ran away from Stanford in the first half and held a 40-26 lead at the half.  But the tide turned in the 2nd half as Stanford steadily reduced the lead.  Then when the Cardinal finally took a lead late in the game, they never looked back and pulled away for an upset 74-67 victory over the Golden Bears.  C Roger Yeager was the cornerstone for Stanford, scoring 17 points and pulling down 13 rebounds.  Stanford outscored Cal 48-27 in the 2nd half.

Oregon Ducks, 18-11, 10-8 (6th seed) vs Arizona Wildcats, 15-12, 11-7 (3rd seed): Arizona blitzed the Ducks in the first half to take a 44-21 halftime lead.  The Wildcats never let the Ducks close the gap in the 2nd half and Arizona came away with an 82-59 drubbing of Oregon.  For Arizona PF Tim Petry scored 22 points and C James Whitworth hauled down 15 rebounds.  Oregon’s SF JJ Robinson scored 19 points.

USC Trojans, 14-15, 7-11 (9th seed) vs #3 UCLA Bruins, 22-5, 14-4 (1st seed): USC completely shut down UCLA’s potent offense in the first half and sported a 36-24 advantage at the end of the half.  The Trojans then shot the lights out in the 2nd half to expand their lead and come away with a huge 78-61 upset of the Bruins.  Since UCLA had beaten USC by scores of 94-48 and 75-53 in the regular season, USC’s victory was completely unexpected.  USC’s reserve C Dan Warford had 18 points and 7 rebounds while SG Brendan Trilli scored 17.  USC outshot UCLA 57% to 38%.

Game #30: Utah Utes, 16-13, 9-9 (7th seed) vs Colorado Buffaloes (19-10, 11-7) (2nd seed):  In the two games these teams played during the regular season, each won by about the same point difference while playing on their home court.  Surprisingly the odds makers favored the Utes over us in this game.  We were surprised that they felt Utah’s bench was stronger than ours since we felt our reserves were the strongest in the Pac-12.  C Marc Fife and PF Mark Wall both averaged over 13 ppg with Fife averaging 9.3 rpg.  We felt that controlling Mark Wall was important, but PG Jason Swygart dropped down 37 points against us in the 2 games we played, so we also needed to figure out a way to finally control him as well.  Both players make a high percentage of their shots and can score from all over the court so its no small task to be able to limit either one.  We’re going to try to wear them down with a quick pace and hounding defense.

We fell behind 9-2 and picked up 4 fouls in the first 4 minutes of the game.  The Utes dominated the boards giving them numerous 2nd chance attempts.  Fortunately they weren’t shooting particularly well, but we shot even worse hitting just 1 of our first 10 shots as well fell behind 12-3 after 8 minutes of play.  Things didn’t improve for us as we hit just 21% of our FG attempts and 10% of our 3P attempts.  By the end of the half we found ourselves in a 34-20 hole.  We were out-rebounded 28-14.  PF/SF Kenton Dunn scored 7 points for us but reserve PG Tega Knox dropped in 13 points for Utah.  All-in-all we just played horribly.  I read the riot act to the guys in the locker room.

We responded by scoring on our first 5 possession in the 2nd half to reduce the Utes’ lead to 6 points.  With 13:16 to go PF Charles Maors hit a baseline jumper and was fouled.  He sunk the free throw to narrow the difference to 40-36.  With 8 minutes remaining we tied the game at 48-48.  SF Rick Coffey sunk 2 free throws to give us our first lead of the game at 50-48 with 7:15 on the clock.  A minute later we capped a 10-0 run to go up by 7 points.  With 57 seconds left Utah cut our lead to 60-58.  PG Matt Conley was fouled on our next possession.  He hit both free throws to put us ahead by 4 with 50 seconds remaining.  Utah was unable to score on their next possessions so had to foul.  That allowed us to come away with a 65-58 victory.  We won in the 2nd half by forcing Utah to make turnovers, and unlike in the first half, we outshot the Utes.  We outscored Utah 45-24 in the 2nd half to achieve what was a scary but satisfying comeback.

PF/C Charles Maors scored 14 points, SF Rick Coffey had 13, PF/SF Kenton Dunn and PG Matt Conley both scored 11, and SG Steve Jackson added 10.  Kenton Dunn also pulled down 10 rebounds.  Utah was led by PG Tega Knox with 13 points. 

Round 3 (Semi-finals):

Stanford Cardinal, 20-9, 10-8 (5th seed) vs USC Trojans, 15-15, 7-11 (9th seed): USC came built a 42-34 halftime advantage.  But in the 2nd half the lead shifted back and forth.  With 22 seconds to go and the game tied at 80-80, USC played for the final shot.  But they were forced to put up an off-balance 18 foot jumper that clanked off the front rim.  The Trojans PF Jero Okesola went up and tipped the ball back up and it fell through the basket as the buzzer sounded.  USC’s 82-80 win was their second upset victory of the tournament.  Okesola finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Trojans.  SF Matt Gates had 15 points and 11 boards for Stanford.

Game #31: Arizona Wildcats, 16-12, 11-7 (3rd seed) vs Colorado Buffaloes, 20-10, 11-7 (2nd seed): In the two games these teams played, each won on the other team’s home court.  We’re the higher seed, but are the underdogs for this contest.  We need to keep SF Rolan Bell from breaking loose.  I really hope we don’t have another slow start…that could be catastrophic against the Wildcats.

The winner of this game will take on the 9th seeded USC Trojans for the Pac-12 Championship.  Both teams beat USC twice during the regular season. USC will need to pull off their 4th straight upset in the tournament to capture the championship.

We had turnovers on our first 3 possessions resulting in 2 breakaway lay-ins for Arizona.  Then SF Rolan Bell scored 9 of the Wildcats’ first 11 points and 3 of our starters had 2 fouls on them after 6-1/2 minutes of play.  7 minutes into the game we had 7 team fouls and Arizona was shooting 1-and-1’s.  Somehow we took a lead at 14-12 with 11:50 to play in the half.  Arizona was called for their FIRST foul with 8:31 left in the half!  At that point we had 9 team fouls and 4 players on the bench in foul trouble.  The Wildcats took advantage of our forced reserve lineup to pull ahead 26-20 with 5 minutes remaining in the half.  But we shifted players in and out and struggled but were able to almost keep up with Arizona.  At the break we only trailed 34-32.  We had been called for 13 fouls while the Wildcats’ were whistled just 4 times and Arizona had been to the foul line 12 more times than us.  Arizona had out-rebounded us 24-14 but we hit 46% of our shots compared to 33% by the Wildcats.  SG Steve Jackson scored 10 points for us and Arizona was led by Rolan Bell’s 13 points.

Arizona (and the refs) seemed to wear us down in the 2nd half.  With 11 minutes to play we trailed 58-40.  We never gave up, but our game plan continued to be blown apart.  We ended up with a disappointing 69-57 loss. 

SG Steve Jackson scored 17.  Arizona’s SF Rolan Bell scored 10 while their PF Tim Petry had 13 points and 15 rebounds and their C Cliff Rivera had 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Thus endeth our dream of winning the conference championship.

Round 4 (Championship):

Arizona Wildcats, 17-12, 11-7 (3rd seed) vs USC Trojans, 16-15, 7-11 (9th seed):  Arizona ended USC’s Cinderalla run by leading from beginning to end.  At the half the Wildcats were ahead 34-19.  They then expanded their lead to 23 points in the 2nd half before easing up and finishing with a 68-52 victory.  C Cliff Rivera had 17 points and 13 rebounds for Arizona. 

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Player and Team Stats for the Buffaloes this past season:

Image
 

Our most productive player this season was freshman C Ike Minihan.  Unfortunately we lost him for the latter part of this season due to an injury but he will be back and hopefully even better next season.

We're losing 5 seniors: PG Matt Conley, SG Steve Jackson, SG Camah Jackson, PF Charles Maors, and PF Primoz Pohek.  While all 5 contributed to our success this season, I'm confident that we will have a strong starting 5 next year and a good bench as well.  I'm already considering moving Rick Coffey from SF to SG next season.  If he can continue to hit at such a high percentage, I'd like to get him more shot opportunities.  Brian Ross also shot well in a limited role this season, so I may try playing him more at SF rather than his more natural PF position and see how he performs.

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Post-Season Tournament Selections:

NCAA:

#1 seeds: Kentucky, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Georgia Tech

Pac-12 participants:

Utah: Play-in game for #12 seed in Midwest Region (playing Michigan State)

Colorado: #7 seed in South Region (playing #10 seed Houston)

Oregon: #6 seed in East Region (playing #11 seed Rice)

UCLA: #2 seed in Midwest Region (playing #15 seed Oral Roberts)

Stanford: #3 seed in West Region (playing #14 seed UC Santa Barbara)

Previous team I coached:

After finishing in 6th place with a 9-9 league record, Youngstown State won the Horizon League tournament so:

Youngstown State: #16 seed in East Region (playing #1 seed Notre Dame)

NIT:

Washington: #2 seed in East Region (playing #7 seed North Carolina A&T)

CBI:

USC: #3 seed in Midwest Region (playing #6 seed Loyola-Chicago)

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Post-Season Tournament Results:

CBI:

Round 1:

Loyola-Chicago-71, USC-66 (USC held a 36-29 halftime lead but let the Ramblers burn them in the 2nd half)

NIT:

Round 1:

Washington-60, North Carolina A&T-38 (bit time defensive effort by the Huskies)

Round 2:

Washington-72, Nevada-59 (Washington’s SF Thomas Richardson scored 21 points)

Round 3:

Washington-85, Mississippi St.-67 (PG Scott Edwards scored 23 and handed out 8 assists for the Huskies)

Round 4 (Semi-Finals):

Washington-67, Montana-58 (Great defensive effort by the Huskies holding Montana’s shooting to 35%)

Round 5 (Championship):

Kansas-82, Washington-77 (24 points by SG Simon Smith wasn’t enough to get it done by Washington)

NCAA:

Play-in Game: Utah-65, Michigan St.-57 (C Marc Fife had 14 points & 18 rebounds for the Utes)

Round 1:

Oregon-81, Rich-75 (23 points for Oregon’s SF JJ Robinson)

Game #32: #10 seed Houston Cougars (19-13) vs #7 seed Colorado Buffaloes (20-11)

Inconsistency has marked Houston’s play this season (but the same could be said about us).  SG Chris Gooden has averaged 19.8 ppg.  The game is rated as a toss-up.

Playing good defense, we took an early 12-3 lead.  But then our offense stuttered and later our defense weakened allowing Houston to open a 31-21 lead with 6 minutes to play in the half.  We came back late in the half to narrow our deficit to 36-34 at the break.  PG Matt Conley scored 7 points.  Houston’s SF James Moore scored 11 and SG Chris Gooden and C Randy Barrett both chipped in 10 points.

Our shooting went from bad to worse in the 2nd half.  We fell behind by 10 points midway through the half.  We finally seemed to wake up so that with 4-1/2 minutes to play we were with 2 at 67-65.  Then SF Rick Coffey drilled a 3-pointer a minute later to put us ahead by a point.  With 1:42 remaining we still led b a single point at 71-70.  With 1:15 left Houston hit a 3.  We a minute remaining, C Primoz Pohek went to the line with a chance to tie but hit just one of two and we were down 73-72.  Houston sunk yet another 3 on their next possession.  We set up a play for Rick Coffey to try a 3, but he was guarded and passed the ball out of bounds.  We fouled their worst foul shooter, but he made one of two shots to give Houston a 5 point lead with 21 seconds remaining.  We hit a bucket but had to foul again and the Cougars sunk both shots and our chance to win.  We lost 79-74 and deserved to lose due to how poorly we played.  We were outshot 45% to 35% and overall were just plain flat throughout most of the game. 

SF Rick Coffey scored 19 and pulled down 10 boards and PG Matt Conley added 10 points.  SF James Moore was high point man for Houston with 22 points.

UCLA-69, Oral Roberts-53 (great defense by UCLA with PF Jarvis Cravens getting 13 points and 10 rebounds)

St. Johns-73, Utah-66 (Although C Marc Fife had 13 points & 13 rebounds, Utah was never really in the game in the 2nd half)

Stanford-81, UC Santa Barbara-78 (27 points and 11 rebounds for Stanford’s C Roger Yeager)

Notre Dame-80, Youngstown State-49 (The Penguins finish the year with a 16-15 record)

Round 2:

North Carolina-70, Oregon-49 (Oregon was totally out of this game from the start and trailed by as many as 32 points)

UCLA-61, Pittsburgh-54 (UCLA’s SG Kyle Taylor scored 18 and grabbed 12 rebounds)

Stanford-95, UNC Greensboro-67 (Stanford had a 40 point lead at one point and their PG Dustin Gervin scored 20 and dished out 9 assists)

Round 3 (Sweet 16):

UCLA-85, Georgia-72 (UCLA SG Kyle Taylor-31 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals, 1 block)

Stanford-90, Virginia-76 (Stanford pulled away in the 2nd half; C Roger Younger-8 points but 18 rebounds and 5 blocks)

Round 4 (Elite 8):

UCLA-72, St. John’s-64 (SG Kyle Taylor-18 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 5 blocks)

Stanford-77, Georgia Tech-74 (Stanford led by 17 but nearly let the Yellow Jackets steal it away at the end)

Round 5 (Final 4):

UCLA-88, Stanford-77 (PG Darelle Denson and SG Kyle Taylor both scored 28 with Denson grabbing 10 rebounds; Stanford was led by SF Julian Brown’s 16 points)

Round 6 (Championship):

Oklahoma-78, UCLA-69 (SG Kyle Taylor capped a great tournament by scoring 34, grabbing 7 rebounds, dishing out 5 assists, and a steal and a block, but Oklahoma was just too much for the Bruins)

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