LAS VEGAS - After playing all 40 minutes to lead Oregon past Utah 66-54 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament, Payton Pritchard will match up against arguably the fastest player in the conference in tonight’s semifinal.
Sophomore guard Remy Martin and second-seeded Arizona State (22-9) will meet the Ducks (21-12) at 8:30 p.m. as Oregon takes the court for the third night in a row.
“It’s like the preseason to practice, that is what prepares us for things like this and the opportunities to play three games in three days,” Pritchard said after scoring 16 of his 20 points against Utah in the second half. “So we are going to be ready.”
Martin, the speedy Sun Devil point guard, had 10 points and six assists in 30 minutes during a 83-72 win over UCLA in the quarterfinals. The 6-foot sophomore is averaging 13.3 points and 5.2 assists per game for ASU.
Oregon was able to limit every player to 24 minutes or less in an 84-51 win over Washington State in the first round, but Pritchard never left the floor against Utah and Louis King played 32 minutes while scoring 20 points. The other seven Ducks played 26 minutes or less.
“Staying healthy, getting back to rehab and our body is ready for the big game,” King said.
ASU beat Oregon 78-64 in Tempe on Jan. 19 before the Ducks beat the Sun Devils 79-51 at home two weeks ago. That win began Oregon’s current six-game winning streak while that loss is the only one for ASU in its last seven games.
“They are a very athletic team and we know that their energy level and athleticism, we are going to have to be really sharp,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We know they are a very talented team. We both have a lot on the line so I know it will be a very tough contest for us.”
Oregon’s only shot at reaching the NCAA Tournament is winning two more games at T-Mobile Arena to earn the automatic bid. Arizona State is currently considered to be on the bubble for the tournament, listed as a No. 10 or 11 seed in most brackets, but coach Bobby Hurley thinks the Sun Devils should be in the field.
“After this game, what uncertainty?,” Hurley said when asked about ASU’s NCAA chances following the win over UCLA.