LAS VEGAS — Southern California’s up-and-down season will continue.
Arizona may have reached the end of an era.
Bennie Boatwright had 22 points and 11 rebounds, helping USC roll over Arizona 78-65 in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament on Wednesday.
“We’re seniors and we wanted to make sure the guys came out and played as hard as they can,” Boatwright said. “This is our last go-around and we want to go as far as we can. They made shots, but we kept playing hard throughout the game.”
The eighth-seeded Trojans (16-16) started slowly, but went on 18-2 runs in each half to earn a spot in Thursday’s quarterfinals against top-seeded Washington.
Derryck Thornton scored 12 points and USC shot 48 percent to bounce the ninth-seeded Wildcats from the Pac-12 tournament after losing to them in the title game a year ago.
Arizona’s difficult season may have come to an end with its first opening-round Pac-12 exit since 2010.
The two-time defending champion Wildcats (17-15) continued to be embroiled in a recruiting scandal and struggled on the court, punctuated by their lopsided loss to the Trojans.
Colorado 56, California 51: LAS VEGAS — McKinley Wright IV scored 18 points and Colorado held off California. The fifth-seeded Buffaloes (20-11) had a hard time holding onto the ball, committing a season-high 23 turnovers, but made up for it by shutting down the 12th-seeded Bears (8-23) defensively. Colorado used an eight-point burst midway through the second half to go up 10 and held off a late Cal charge to remain undefeated (8-0) in Pac-12 Tournament first-round games. The Buffaloes move on to face No. 4 seed Oregon State in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
UCLA 79, Stanford 72: LAS VEGAS — Jaylen Hands had 22 points and 11 rebounds, helping UCLA hold off Stanford. The seventh-seeded Bruins (17-15) built a 26-point lead before Stanford started hitting shots in the closing minutes to pull within 69-62. UCLA hit 10 of 12 free throws in the final 1:05 to earn a spot in Thursday’s quarterfinals against No. 2 seed Arizona State. Jalen Hill had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Chris Smith added 14 points for the Bruins.
The 10th-seeded Cardinal (15-16) struggled against UCLA’s defensive pressure early, finishing at 35 percent from the floor and 7 of 25 from the 3-point arc.
No. 16 Virginia Tech 71, Miami 56: CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kerry Blackshear had 19 points and 10 rebounds to help Virginia Tech beat Miami in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. Ty Outlaw added 14 points — all in the first half — points for the fifth-seeded Hokies (24-7), who never trailed after scoring the game’s first 11 points. The Hokies ran out to a 20-point lead before halftime, then turned away Miami’s last serious push early in the second half with a 20-5 run that increased the margin past 20 again.