The Arizona Wildcats emphatically ended their Pac-12 Tournament championship drought with the recipe that has served them well all season: superior rebounding and suffocating defense.
Led by 20 points and five rebounds from tournament MVP Brandon Ashley, the top-seeded Wildcats earned their first Pac-12 Tournament championship since 2002 by crushing No. 2 seed Oregon 80-52 in Las Vegas on Saturday night. UA will add that title to its Pac-12 regular-season championship after going 16-2 in regular-season conference play.
It was a moment of redemption for Arizona, which had lost in the tournament championship game in three of the last four seasons.
“There’s a great deal of significance because now when someone asks, ‘When’s the last time you won the Pac-12 Tournament title,’ we can say, ‘2015,’” UA coach Sean Miller told ESPN after the game.
“We’ve been in this game four times in the last five years. We’ve lost some heart-breakers. Some of the guys on our team were a part of that. I think that helped us today.”
Ashley went 6-of-8 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free-throw line Saturday. He went a ridiculous 19-of-26 from the floor and 21-of-24 from the line during the Wildcats’ three-game tournament run.