Pac-12 tournament: Alonzo Verge carries ASU past Washington State; Utah will play USC
Alonzo Verge Jr. scored on a challenged drive in the lane with 11 seconds left, lifting Arizona State to a 64-59 win over Washington State in the opening round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament on Wednesday.
Verge finished with a season-high 26 points as the Sun Devils (11-13) closed the game on a 10-2 run for their second win over Washington State in less than two weeks. Arizona State beat Washington State 77-74 on Feb. 27 in Tempe.
The eighth-seeded Sun Devils face No. 1 seed Oregon in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Isaac Bonton led Washington State (14-13) with 18 points and Noah Williams added 11. But the Cougars were sloppy all game, committing four of their 20 turnovers in the final 2:28 of the game.
Washington State led 57-54 after a pair of free throws by Williams, but Verge scored in transition on consecutive possessions to give the Sun Devils a 58-57 lead with 1:18 left.
Williams scored Washington State’s last basket with 1:11 left, but the Cougars committed a pair of turnovers on its next two possessions. Verge didn’t appear to be the primary option, but with the shot clock running down hit an awkward runner to give the Sun Devils the lead.
UCLA opens play in the Pac-12 tournament Thursday against Oregon State on a losing streak, but coach Mick Cronin wants the Bruins to keep fighting.
Washington State had one more chance but Williams was stripped from behind by Jaelen House driving to the basket. Washington State coach Kyle Smith was angered at the lack of a foul call and was assessed a technical foul, and the Sun Devils made all four free throws for the final margin.
Kimani Lawrence added 13 points for the Sun Devils, which played without Marcus Bagley and Josh Christopher, and endured a tough shooting day from leading scorer Remy Martin. Martin averaged 19.9 points during the regular season, but was 2 of 10 shooting and finished with six points.
Dishon Jackson and D.J. Rodman both added 10 points for Washington State, but the Cougars had zero points off the bench.
Utah 98, Washington 95
Timmy Allen led six Utah players in double figures with 24 points and 11 rebounds, and the Utes had to hold off Washington’s late charge for a 98-95 win in the opening round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament on Wednesday.
Allen and the Utes (12-12) jumped to a 17-point lead early, led by 12 at halftime and never let Washington cut the deficit to single-digits until late in the second half.
Jamal Bey hit a 3 for Washington to pull within 90-81 with 2:06 left, but Alfonso Plummer answered with the 14th 3-pointer for Utah to push the lead back to 12.
The Huskies (5-21) pulled to 95-88 with 48 seconds left on a pair of free throws by Quade Green. After a missed free throw, Washington’s Cole Bajema appeared to have an open dunk to pull within five, but Ian Martinez blocked the dunk from behind and free throws by Mikael Jantunen pushed the lead back to nine.
A layup by Erik Stevenson and 3-pointer by Bajema with less than a second left led to the final margin.
Plummer finished with 21 points, including six 3-pointers. The Utes shot 54% from behind the arc and nearly became just the second team in Pac-12 tournament history to reach the 100-point mark.
Branden Carlson finished with 13 points, Pelle Larsson and Jantunen each had 12 and Riley Battin scored 11.
Green led Washington with a career-high 31 points in likely his final game with the Huskies. Bey had 18 and Stevenson 14. The Huskies scored 60 points in the second half, but couldn’t overcome a miserable start.
Utah took control with a 23-4 run in the opening moments and led 29-12 barely nine minutes into the game. Allen and Plummer combined for 25 of Utah’s 47 points in the first half.
The loss concluded one of the worst seasons in school history for Washington. The .192 winning percentage for Washington was the worst since 1993-94 when the Huskies went 5-22.
California 76, Stanford 58
Matt Bradley scored 19 points off the bench and Ryan Betley, also off the bench, scored 13 and No. 11 seed California never trailed beating sixth-seeded Stanford 76-58 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament.
Bradley and Betley combined to shoot 11 for 16 including 6 for 8 from 3-point range.
Cal also sent Stanford home in the first round of last year’s tournament with a 63-51 win before the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.
Cal (9-19) entered the tournament with just one win in its final 12 games. Wednesday’s win sends Cal into a potentially compelling Thursday quarterfinal matchup against No. 3 seed Colorado, the lone team Cal beat in its last 12 regular season games. Bradley scored a season-high 29 points in Berkeley on Feb. 13 in the win against the Buffs. However, Colorado is 3-0 against Cal in conference tournament play.
The Cardinal (4-13) entered having beaten Cal twice during the regular season. On Wednesday, the Cardinal played without freshman Ziaire Williams due to a death in his family, the university announced.
Oscar da Silva buried a 3-pointer to bring Stanford within 52-51 with 6:53 remaining, but Betley responded with a 3 and Cal proceeded to blitz Stanford 24-7 to close the game.
Andre Kelly, also off the bench, added 12 points for Cal.
Jaiden Delaire scored 14 points and da Silva and Michael O’Connell each scored 12.
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