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Brooks' runner lifts Oregon over Arizona

Jan 15, 2007 - 5:52 AM TUCSON, Arizona (Ticker) -- Aaron Brooks capped off a magnificent week in spectacular style.

Brooks banked in a running jump shot with two seconds to play to lift No. 17 Oregon to a 79-77 victory over eighth-ranked Arizona in the Pac-10 Conference.

It was the third straight game that Brooks decided the outcome for Oregon in the waning moments. His jumper with 13 seconds to play handed then-No. 1 UCLA its first loss on January 6, and he buried two free throws with 3.5 ticks left to seal Thursday's victory at Arizona State.

This may have been the best of the three performances by the 6-foot senior guard. Brooks scored 11 of the Ducks' final 15 points, including a tying 3-pointer with 1:53 to play that preceding his winning jumper. He finished with 21 points, matching his average in the previous six games.

"Aaron made a tough shot at the end. We had two guys challenging him and he just made a great shot," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "I thought we did a good job of coming back after they hit some really good shots that got us down. We just couldn't close it."

Oregon (16-1, 4-1 Pac-10) relied on the 3-point shot to hang with Arizona, which lost for the first time in 10 games at the McKale Center this season.

The Ducks were 13-of-26 from the arc, including 4-of-6 by Bryce Taylor, who also scored 21 points to share team-high scoring honors with Brooks.

"I think the game went just as we expected it to go. As I said before, (Oregon) can get up and down the court quicker than anyone we have played," Olson said. "Early in the game we didn't do very well in transition defense, and when you look at our inability to hit threes and their ability hit that shot, one can see what made the difference in the game."

The Wildcats (13-3, 4-2) wasted the second consecutive career-best performance by forward Marcus Williams, who poured in 34 points and had nailed four straight free throws to give Arizona a 77-72 lead with 3:02 to play. The sophomore also grabbed 12 rebounds.

"A loss is a loss right now. I don't care where we're playing," Williams said. "You've got to defend your home court. It's a tough schedule to do that, but if you want to be Pac-10 champs, then you've got to do it."

It was a game of spurts throughout. Taylor, Maarty Leunen and Brooks hit consecutive 3-pointers in a 9-0 run for a 24-20 Oregon lead with just under 7 1/2 minutes left in the first half.

Arizona came back behind Williams, who scored 17 of his team's first 28 points en route to leading the Wildcats to a 38-37 halftime advantage.

Malik Hairston, who scored 18 points, had a flurry of nine points in 62 seconds early in the second half to help the Ducks go ahead, 55-49, five minutes into the second half.

After Mustafa Shakur converted a three-point play to cap a 7-0 run to put Arizona in front, 56-55, Oregon ran off the next seven points only to see the Wildcats counter with another 7-0 surge for a 63-62 lead with 9:38 left.

Arizona slowly opened the lead to five points but failed to score over the final three minutes, leading to Brooks' heroics.

"Every possession counts whether it's in the first half or the second half," Shakur said. "After the game coach Olson talked about how every possession can be a factor in the game regardless of when it is.

"It was a very intense game. It's just unfortunate we didn't come out on top.

Shakur finished with 21 points for Arizona, which struggled from 3-point range, hitting just 3-of-15.