Regular-season titles clinched before conference tournaments kick off


Seattle Shabazz Muhammad poured in a game-high 21 points to lead 23rd-ranked UCLA to a 61-54 win over Washington on Saturday.

With the win, and No. 19 Oregon’s loss to Utah, UCLA (23-8, 13-5 Pac-12) earned its fourth regular-season title — all outright — under coach Ben Howland. The Bruins also captured the top seed in the upcoming Pac-12 Tournament.

UCLA won three straight conference crowns from 2006-2008 under Howland.

“We’ve got to go into that conference tournament and try to win it and that’s our goal,” Howland said. “We’re the No. 1 seed, we won the regular season, now we have to win the conference tournament. And we know how hard it is going to be.”

Jordan Adams finished with 17 points and four steals and Travis Wear chipped in 10 points for the Bruins.

Scott Suggs scored 14 points and Shawn Kemp Jr. added 10 for the Huskies (17-14, 9-9), who had a three-game winning streak snapped.

“I don’t think we lost any confidence today but we know we need to limit our turnovers,” Suggs said. “That was a big influence today, so I’m sure we’ll focus on that for the next couple of days.”

Abdul Gabby’s layup with just under six minutes left gave Washington a 52-48 edge, but the Bruins scored nine straight points to take a 57-52 lead with 1:14 remaining.

Kemp Jr stopped the bleeding with a slam with 1:07 left. The Huskies the shut down UCLA on the ensuing possession, but Larry Drew II worked his way to the hoop for a layup as the shot clock expired.

Andrews turned in over with 21 seconds left and Jordan Adams sunk a pair of free throws accounted for the final margin.

No. 1 Gonzaga 66, Loyola Marymount 48

Las Vegas Elias Harris scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds, as Gonzaga earned its first-ever victory as a No. 1 team with a win over Loyola Marymount in a semifinal matchup in the West Coast Conference Tournament on Saturday at Orleans Arena.

Kevin Pangos followed with 14 points, while Gary Bell, Jr. and WCC Player of the Year Kelly Olynyk added eight points apiece for the Bulldogs (30-2), who have won 13 straight games and are headed to the WCC title game for the 16th straight season.

Gonzaga will be vying for its 12th tourney crown since 1995 when they take on defending champion St. Mary’s in Monday’s title game.

Anthony Ireland led the Lions (11-23) with 19 points and six boards.

LMU held the Bulldogs to 9-of-24 shooting from the field, including 1-of-7 from 3-point range, in the first half to stay within one, 27-26, at the break.

The margin was one, 32-31, just under two minutes into the second half before Gonzaga came to life, as a Pangos jumper sparked a 18-2 surge that Harris capped with back-to-back buckets to make it 50-33 at the midpoint of the frame.

The Lions answered with five straight points to pull within 12, but Harris countered with a personal 6-0 sprint to push the margin to 18 with 4:18 remaining.

LMU never got closer than 16 the rest of the way.

Washington State 76, USC 51

Pullman Led by a double-double from Brock Motum with a game-high 31 points and 10 rebounds, the Washington State Cougars downed Southern California in a Pac-12 battle at Beasley Coliseum.

Royce Woolridge added 25 points for the Cougars (13-18, 4-14 Pac-12), while Dexter Kernich-Drew chipped in with 11 points, as WSU clinched the No. 11 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament and will face No. 6 seed Washington in the first round on Wednesday.

For the Trojans (14-17, 9-9), J.T. Terrell led the way with 18 points. USC will be the No. 7 seed in the conference tournament and play Utah in the first round, also on Wednesday.

WSU took a 39-20 lead into the break. While the Cougars shot just 38.2 percent from the field, they did knock down 6-of-19 from 3-point range and they held USC to just 28.6 shooting from the field. The Trojans made only 2-of-12 from beyond the 3-point arc.

WSU finished the night with a 45-34 rebounding edge. Both teams took good care of the ball, with the Cougars turning it over a stingy five times and the Trojans just 10.

Utah 72, No. 19 Oregon 62

Salt Lake City Jason Washburn registered 20 points and 12 rebounds and led Utah to a 72-62 win over No. 19 Oregon on Saturday.

Washburn shot 8-of-10 from the field for the Utes (13-17, 5-13 Pac-12), who ended the regular season with two straight wins. Jarred DuBois added 15 points while Jordan Loveridge and Brandon Taylor scored 14 points apiece.

“Last time we played Oregon, we got beat on the glass 41-19, so it didn’t take a lot of motivation for our guys to know that is where it was going to happen. We met that challenge,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said.

The Utes won the rebounding battle, 31-28.

E.J. Singler recorded 21 points and seven rebounds and Tony Woods had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Ducks (23-8, 12-6), who finished the regular season having dropped their final two contests.

Utah had a 44-30 advantage at halftime.

No. 5 Georgetown 61, Syracuse 39

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Markel Starks scored 19 points and D’Vaun Smith-Rivera added 15, as fifth-ranked Georgetown pulled away in the second half for a victory over Syracuse. Georgetown earned a share of the Big East regular-season title and also wrapped up the top overall seed in the upcoming conference tournament.

Otto Porter carried Georgetown to a victory at Syracuse two weeks ago with 33 points, but didn’t make a shot from the floor until the second half in this one. He finished with just 10 points, but contributed eight rebounds and seven assists as the Hoyas (24-5, 14-4 Big East) bounced back from Wednesday’s loss at Villanova to win for the 12th time in their last 13 games.

Michael Carter-Williams was the lone Syracuse player in double figures with 17 points. C.J. Fair added nine for the 17th-ranked Orange (23-8, 11-7), who closed the regular season with four losses in five games and failed to earn a double-bye for next week’s tournament at Madison Square Garden.

The Orange will be seeded fifth in the event and face either Seton Hall or South Florida in Wednesday’s second round.

No. 3 Duke 69, North Carolina 53

Chapel Hill, NC — Mason Plumlee posted 23 points and 13 rebounds as No. 3 Duke took a convincing win over North Carolina in the regular season finale for both schools.

Seth Curry had 20 points while Quinn Cook added 12 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Blue Devils (27-4, 14-4 ACC), who won the final three games of the regular season to finish second in the conference behind Miami-Florida.

James Michael McAdoo had 15 points and P.J. Hairston added 14 points and six boards for the Tar Heels (22-9, 12-6), who had won six straight coming in and finished third in the conference standings.

Duke never trailed in this game as the team scored the first 14 points with Curry capping the surge on a triple and a jumper 3 1/2 minutes in.

North Carolina scored the next five points, but the Blue Devils answered that with a 12-4 surge with Curry again supplying consecutive baskets for a 26-9 advantage.

Duke later pushed its advantage to 20 points before taking a 42-24 lead into the break.

North Carolina never threatened in the second half as the Blue Devils led by as many as 25 in the final 20 minutes for the easy win.