No. 5 Oregon beats Cal 73-65 in Pac-12 semifinals
LAS VEGAS (AP) —
Tyler Dorsey had 23 points, Dylan Ennis scored on a key three-point play with 22 seconds left, and No. 5 Oregon outlasted California 73-65 Friday night in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.
Top-seeded Oregon (29-4) played most of the second half without leading scorer Dillon Brooks due to foul trouble, but increased its lead behind a rash of blocked shots and transition baskets.
Ennis finished with 16 points for Oregon, which will play the winner between No. 3 UCLA and No. 7 Arizona in Saturday's championship game. Jordan Bell had 15 rebounds and five blocked shots.
California (21-12) lost leading scorer Jabari Bird 64 seconds into the game to a head injury after a hard fall, yet held its own with the Ducks.
The fifth-seeded Bears pulled within two in the final minute, but Ennis scored on a hard drive and hit the free throw to put the Ducks up 70-65.
Grant Mullins led Cal with 23 points and Charlie Moore added 15.
Cal took a couple of steps toward earning an at-large NCAA Tournament bid by beating Oregon State and Utah to open the Pac-12 Tournament after closing the regular season with five losses in six games.
Beating a top-five team would have been a huge boost, but it faced long odds coming into the night. Oregon won the two games during the regular season against the Bears, blowing them out at home, needing a late comeback and buzzer-beater by Brooks to win in Berkeley.
Cal got a tough break barely a minute into the game, when Bird went down hard. He had to be helped to the locker room while holding a towel to the right side of his head.
But the injury and a quiet start by forward Ivan Raab did little to slow the Bears. They attacked the Ducks at both ends, leading for a good portion of the first half behind Moore and Mullins, who combined for 21 points.
Oregon had two long scoring droughts, but turned up the defensive pressure to build a 36-33 halftime lead. Dorsey had 13 points and the Ducks held Cal without a field goal over the final 4:38.
Oregon opened the second half by getting into quick foul trouble. The Ducks had six in the opening 2 1/2 minutes — five on one possession — and Brooks had to go to the bench after picking up his fourth.
Despite the fouls, Oregon increased its lead, going up 49-37 after a 9-0 run.
Cal clawed back, whittling the lead down to 64-61 with 3 1/2 minutes left behind a little defense of its own, but couldn't finish it off.
California kept battling after Bird went down and has given itself at least shot at getting an NCAA Tournament nod on selection Sunday.
Oregon did not exactly play pretty, but found a way, earning a trip to the Pac-12 title game for third straight season.
California must await word on its postseason fate.
Oregon will play the winner between No. 3 UCLA and No. 7 Arizona in Saturday's championship game.
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