USC falls to Deandre Ayton, Arizona in Pac-12 Tournament title game


On the season, USC basketball averages 78.2 points, 34.7 rebounds and 16.0 assists per game.

Obviously, all eyes will be on Ayton in what could be the final Pac-12 game of his career, as he's expected to declare for the NBA Draft after the season. The Arizona freshman phenom is surrounded by some of college basketball's all-time greatest players. This will be the tenth head-to-head matchup between the two programs in Pac-12 Conference Tournament history. On Selection Sunday we find out if the Bruins have enough on their resume to get them into the NCAA Tournament.

The Trojans were solid on that side of the ball in the first half against Arizona, particularly by forcing turnovers.

Offensively, Rawle Alkins carried the team in the first half, PJC and Ayton in the second and Ayton in overtime with several putback points.

The nationally ranked No.15/17 Wildcats are the top seed in the PAC-12 bracket and will face the victor of the Arizona State Sun Devils/Colorado Rams matchup at 2pm local time today in the quarter-final round at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

After the Bruins defeated Stanford 88-77 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament Thursday afternoon, the UCLA postgame celebration could be heard throughout the bowels of T-Mobile Arena.

Ayton kept dunking and the crowd kept roaring until the confetti cannons went off.

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WHAT IT MEANS: The Buffs arrived in Las Vegas knowing they needed to win four games to earn an NCAA Tournament automatic bid, or win one or two games to put them in the NIT mix.

Ayton, who was named the tournament's most outstanding player, tallied 32 points and collected 18 rebounds, a day after a 32-point, 14-rebound performance in an overtime win over UCLA in the semifinals.

Alkins caught a pass from Ayton - who was sitting on the low block -while flying down the middle of the lane and slammed the dunk down, completely posterizing USC's Elijah Stewart. The finish gave the Wildcats their first double-digit lead of the contest. "Once we fixed that part of the game, everything else fell into place and it made our game much better". The Trojans just had no answer for Ayton.

The Bahamian big man had 32 points and 14 rebounds in a semifinal win over UCLA and knocked the Trojans (23-11) around like bowling pins in the championship game.

When asked how he would deal with Ayton, Metu first laughed. I just needed to really watch film.

"I can't tell you how proud I am for us coming together", Stanford's Reid Travis said. "We fought 'till the end".

The Cardinal were down 47-43 when Davis picked up his fourth foul 66 seconds into the second half, and they managed to keep the deficit to a single digit until he finally got back onto the floor in hopes of another run with 6:50 remaining. Ayton leads Arizona with a double-double per game, putting up 19.6 points and 11.2 rebounds per game while Jackson-Cartwright leads the Wildcats in assists with 4.6 assists per game this season.