LAS VEGAS – After a day full of close games, the start of the second day of the 2015 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament was a proverbial snooze fest as both games were decided well before the final buzzer sounded.
In the first game of the day, the Arizona Wildcats pulled away in the second half to advance past the Cal Bears, 73-51 thanks to a strong performance from freshman Stanley Johnson.
In the first half, the Bears took the momentum from their win Wednesday over Washington State and kept the game close for the most part, heading into the locker room trailing 33-27.
In the second half, however, the Wildcats seized all control and dominated every phase of the game. Johnson, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, led all players with 10 second half points to help extend the Wildcats' lead and keep them ahead.
Throughout the game, Cal's senior forward David Kravish instigated with a slew of Arizona players in a Kevin Garnett-esque performance. The attempted intimidation reached a head with 2:41 left when, after a Cal miss, he became tangled up with junior forward Brandon Ashley and the two got into a shoving match. Both players were assessed technical fouls and the game played out with no more incidents.
In the second game, the UCLA Bruins obliterated the USC Trojans 96-70 behind a career best performance from sophomore guard Isaac Hamilton.
The Trojans came into the game playing with house money after upsetting fifth seeded ASU in improbable fashion. USC did not take advantage of its possible Cinderella run and was outplayed from the tip, committing 13 turnovers in the first half alone.
The Bruins on the other hand, were playing their first game in a week and it looked like it. Senior guard Norman Powell and Hamilton both were out running, combining for 26 points in the first half on 9-17 shooting. A total team effort had UCLA ahead 47-29 at halftime.
No stranger to climbing back from double-digit deficits, the Trojans did not seem to panic in the second half, but continued to be outplayed. Hamilton kept hitting shots from all over the floor, ending with a career-high 36 points.
Nothing the Trojans did could stop the Bruins offense from running roughshod on them for the entire 40 minutes, resulting in the most points scored by any team in the tournament's six games to this point.
It wasn't all positive for the Bruins however, as star freshman forward Kevon Looney left the game and did not play in the second half after leaving with a "some kind of facial injury," according to coach Steve Alford. His status is uncertain for Friday's tilt with Arizona.
The Bruins and Wildcats have only played once this season, with Arizona taking the meeting 57-47 at McKale Center on Feb. 21.
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