LAS VEGAS — It didn’t take long to decide which team Utah would face in the Pac-12 quarterfinals. Sixth-seeded Oregon overpowered 11th-seed Washington State in decisive fashion Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena, prevailing 84-51.
The Ducks, who face the third-seeded Utes in the late game Thursday (9:30 p.m., ESPN), built a 37-20 halftime lead on the Cougars — holding them to 23.5 percent shooting (5 of 22) over the first 20 minutes. They extended their lead to 35 points after the break in what proved to be the biggest blowout in Pac-12 tourney history.
Ehab Amin led the way with a game-high 17 points.
“I thought Oregon was just exceptional,” said Washington State coach Ernie Kent. “People have talked bout them being the hottest team in the league.”
Utah dropped a 78-72 decision to Oregon in thé Huntsman Center on Jan. 31. The Utes gave up 29 points on 19 turnovers in the loss.
“Oregon’s a great team, especially defensively,” said Utah sophomore Donnie Tillman. “They turn up the pressure.”
The Ducks, he added, have great athleticism and length. They’ve defeated Utes in the Pac-12 Tournament four times (2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018).
Despite the historical success, Oregon coach Dana Altman is expecting quite a challenge from the Utes on Thursday.11 comments on this story
Altman said Utah is a very gifted team that is shooting a lot of threes and will stretch Oregon’s defense out. The Utes, he noted will also be more fresh because of a first-round bye.
“ It will be a big, big challenge for us,” Altman said. “They score so easily. It will really challenge our defense.
“And that’s what we’ve been living on here the last few weeks, and our big improvement, has been one the defense. So it’s going to put tremendous pressure on us tomorrow night,” he added.