Saturday, February 28, 2009

Washington Clinches PAC-10 Tie: Duke, Sooners Win

#21 Washington 83, Arizona 78

Jon Brockman scored 19 points and pulled in 9 rebounds and Isaiah Thomas tallied 19 as well, putting the Washington Huskies in an excellent position to win their first PAC-10 title in 24 years. Their win over Arizona clinched at least a tie with one game left, against Washington St. on March 7. The Huskies knocked off the Cougars back in January, 68-48.

Trailing most of the game, the Huskies ran off 10 straight points, turning a 6-point deficit into a 66-62 lead with less than 6 minutes left in the second half. The two teams traded baskets and free throws down the stretch, but the best the Wildcats could do was tie the game at 68-all. From there, the Huskies hunkered down on defense and canned key buckets and free throws as time wore down.

Jordan Hill led Arizona with 27 points on 12-18 shooting. The Huskies improved to 13-4, 22-7, while Arizona kept slim post-season hopes alive despite the loss. They are 8-8 in the PAC-10 and 18-11 overall.

#7 Duke 72, Virginia Tech 65

The Blue Devils (24-5, 10-4) continued their relentless pursuit of North Carolina in the ACC, winning on the road in Blacksburg to remain within striking distance of the Tar Heels.

Gerald Henderson was Duke's leader again. He and Kyle Singler led all scorers with 21 points each. Henerdson grabbed 6 rebounds and dished 6 assists. He has led the team in scoring in three straight wins, with 19 against St. John's and 35 in the Blue Devils' win over Wake Forest.

After a home game against Florida State on March 3, Duke closes out the regular season at North Carolina, March 7.

#3 Oklahoma 78, Texas Tech 63

Blake Griffin returned to the lineup and the Oklahoma Sooners promptly ended their 2-game skid.

The aftereffects of a concussion suffered against this same Red Raider team apparently long gone, Griffin had 14 points and 9 rebounds in the opening half and finished with 20 and 17. Griffin's older brother, Taylor, a 6'7" senior, pitched in his own double-double leading all scorers with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

The Sooners (26-3, 12-2) still have a shot at the Big 12 regular season title, though they trail Kansas by 1/2 game. The #15 Jayhawks have an important date with #11 Missouri tomorrow.

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