Colorado reaches semis again, beats Oregon in Pac-12 tourney

Colorado reaches semis again, beats Oregon in Pac-12 tourney
Posted at 9:10 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 23:10:49-05

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Evan Battey had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Jabari Walker added 18 points and 16 rebounds for his 17th double-double this season and fourth-seeded Colorado beat No. 5 seed Oregon 80-69 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Conference tournament.

"We beat a really good program that's won a lot of games and is very, very well-coached," head coach Tad Boyle said. "We knew this wasn't going to be easy and it wasn't. I'm proud of our guys because we really struggled offensively out of the chute … We missed some shots but it didn't affect us on the other end and we hung in there. We found a way to break it open and beat a good team, and now we live to see another day."

"Just the fact we're playing together now, playing for each other, defensively and offensively, it shows," added Battey. "It just numbers and shows the way the ball is moving and shows in the win column. So I have no worries to that. But I just say we've gotten better."

Colorado (21-10) advances to the semifinals on Friday for the third time in four seasons, and will try to beat top-seeded and second-ranked Arizona for a second time this season after winning 79-63 at home on Feb. 26.

"We just had to keep getting stops because Oregon can make threes," Boyle said. "They're an explosive offensive team."

Walker completed a three-point play for a 63-56 lead, and he sank a 3-pointer early in the shot clock to make it 72-63 with 4:02 remaining. Colorado led by at least eight points the rest of the way.

Freshman KJ Simpson added 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Colorado. Tristan da Silva scored 12 points. Battey recorded his first double-double of the season, and Walker finished with 11 points and nine rebounds in the second half.

Colorado trailed by seven midway through the first half, but used a 12-0 run to build a lead, 36-30, it would not relinquish.

Quincy Guerrier had a season-high 25 points and 13 rebounds for Oregon (20-13). Jacob Young scored 18 points with seven assists, Eric Williams Jr. added 10 points and N’Faly Dante grabbed 11 rebounds.

Oregon was without scoring leader Will Richardson for the third straight game because of a non-COVID illness. Richardson, who is averaging 14.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists a game, did not travel with the team to Las Vegas.

The Buffs face top-seeded and No. 2 nationally ranked Arizona (29-3) in a 7 p.m. semifinal Friday at T-Mobile Arena. The game will be televised by the Pac-12 Network with KOA carrying the radio broadcast.

"We're playing for a championship in this tournament," Boyle said. "We figured out a way to get to the semis, now we have to figure out a way to beat Arizona. That's not going to be easy. We're going to fight."

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