Hairston, Porter lead Oregon to Pac-10 finalMar 10, 2007 - 8:35 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Freshman Tajuan Porter and Malik Hairston showed deadly accuracy to end California's playoff run.
Porter scored 24 points and Hairston added 22 for No. 18 Oregon, which advanced to the final of the Pac-10 Conference tournament with an 81-63 triumph over California.
The fourth-seeded Ducks (25-7) won their fifth straight contest and are back in the championship game for the first time since taking the 2003 title. They will face Southern California on Saturday.
After Thursday's quarterfinal victory over Arizona, Oregon gained a measure of revenge against California, which held the Ducks scoreless in the final 4:29 of their last meeting, a 63-61 loss on February 15.
"We've played some of the best defense we have ever played since I've been at Oregon," Ducks coach Ernie Kent said. "That's probably the biggest first half we've ever played ... first defensively and offensively."
"It's definitely a great feeling," Hairston said. "We've worked hard over the course of the summer (and) the spring. ... I'm very proud of this basketball team and the things we've been through."
Oregon shot a blistering 69 percent (18-of-26) from the floor to take a 44-23 halftime lead. Porter scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shots and Hairston had 10 by making 5-of-6 shots.
"I've just got confidence in my shots," Porter said. "I try to take good shots, get open shots. My teammates find me and I knock them down."
"I thought Oregon really stepped up in the first half and really got off to a great start, knocking down some shots," California coach Ben Braun said. "I thought our guys really came out in the second half and I thought it was indicative of the fight that is in this team."
California opened the second half by rallying behind sophomore Theo Robertson, who scored eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in a 19-5 spurt that cut the deficit to 49-42 with 12:27 remaining.
However, Hairston followed with a three-point play that seemed to deflate the Golden Bears. He added another nearly five minutes later and made two more baskets as Oregon took a 68-56 lead with 4:23 left.
"We tried to pressure the ball when it was up top," Hairston said. "I think we did a good job of handling their rotation."
Porter and Bryce Taylor combined to make three more baskets from the arc down the stretch and Hairston capped the scoring with a dunk with 34 seconds to play.
Hairston finished 10-of-13 from the field, Porter went 8-of-12 and Maarty Leunen added 13 points for Oregon.
Robertson and freshman Ryan Anderson scored 17 points each for California (16-17), which ran out of steam after Thursday's surprise victory over top-seeded UCLA.
"We did put effort on the floor and when you dig a hole that big, you have to make a lot of right turns," Braun said. "Obviously, Oregon came back just when they needed to in the second half."
- PAC 10 TOURNAMENT
AT LOS ANGELES CA
NCAA BB PAC 10 TOURNAMENT
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
CALIFORNIA 23 40 63
OREGON (18) 44 37 81 FINAL
Mar 9 11:17 PM
- PAC 10 TOURNAMENT
AT LOS ANGELES CA
NCAA BB CALIFORNIA 23
OREGON (18) 44 HALFTIME
Mar 9 10:02 PM
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