Daily Camera (Boulder)

Race for top-four seeds wide open

- By Pat Rooney prooney@ prairiemou­ntainmedia.com

Arizona will need a little help to catch UCLA for the Pac-12 Conference’s regular season crown.

The race for the coveted top four spots in the men’s basketball standings, however, might provide a fair level of drama over the final two weekends of the regular season.

As of Monday, those top spots belonged to UCLA (14-2 Pac-12), Arizona (134), USC (11-5) and Arizona State (10-7), which picked up a huge potential tiebreaker with its home win on Saturday against Utah (also 10-7). It was the only matchup this season between the Utes and ASU.

Oregon (9-8) and Washington State (8-9) also are in the mix. A top-four finish comes with a first-round bye at the Pac-12 tournament. While Arizona State begins the week with the advantage, the Sun Devils also have the most difficult finishing stretch among the contenders, with three consecutiv­e road games at Arizona, UCLA and USC.

Oregon plays at Oregon State on Saturday in its onegame rivalry week before finishing at home against the Bay Area schools. Like Arizona State, Washington State closes with three consecutiv­e road games, but the ledger isn’t quite as demanding as the road ahead for the Sun Devils. The Cougars visit the Bay Area this week before closing in Seattle against rival Washington.

“I thought it was a gutsy win,” ASU coach Bobby Hurley told reporters following his team’s win against the Utes in their final regular season home game.

“I’m very happy for the seniors that have been really great to me, great to the program this year for the guys that just joined and DJ (Horne) for two years. So to see those guys perform the way they did all contributi­ng and hard fought game, hard game but happy we got a win here. Now hopefully we will use this momentum heading out on the road.”


For the second time this season, USC’S Boogie Ellis was named the Pac-12 Conference player of the week.

Ellis was on fire during the Trojans’ home sweep of California and Stanford, averaging 27.2 points in the two wins while shooting .517 overall (15-for-29) and .556 on 3-pointers (10for-18). Ellis went 15-for-15 at the free throw line in the two games.

Ellis opened his week by going 6-for-13 from the floor with 22 points in a rout of Cal, adding six rebounds and two assists. The senior guard followed that performanc­e with a career game against Stanford, pouring in a career-high 33 points on a 9-for-16 night with six 3-pointers. Ellis also recorded seven assists against the Cardinal. Ellis became one of just five Division I players this season to score at least 33 points with at least six 3-pointers and seven assists in the same game.


Washington’s Keyon Menifield was named the freshman of the week after averaging 19.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists during the Huskies’ two home wins against the Oregon schools. … UCLA held steady in this week’s AP Top 25 at No. 4. Arizona moved up one spot to No. 7. … The Pac-12’s NET rankings to start the week on Monday: UCLA (4), Arizona (11), Oregon (49), USC (56), Utah (57), Colorado (64), Arizona State (70), Washington State (75), Stanford (107), Washington (116), Oregon State (219), California (301). … Washington State forward Mouhamed Gueye took over the league lead in double-doubles by posting his 12th of the season against Oregon (18 points, 12 rebounds).

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