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March 10, 2007

Oregon wins Pac-10 behind shooting show

Box Score

LOS ANGELES -Bryce Taylor pressures himself daily to be perfect. For one game, he was.

Taylor made every shot he took and scored a career-high 32 points in a record-setting performance, and No. 16 Oregon routed Southern California 81-57 Saturday to win the Pac-10 tournament title.

Taylor went 11-for-11 from the field, 7-for-7 from 3-point range and 3-for-3 from the line before being removed with 6 1/2 minutes left and the Ducks ahead by 39 points.

"I used to be a lot more selfish in high school," said Taylor, a sophomore from nearby Encino. "Then I realized if I put other people first, success will come back to me. That could have been anyone else. Today it was just my turn."

Oregon coach Ernie Kent had finished praising Taylor's defensive job on USC star Nick Young, who was held to 10 points, when he heard Taylor had shot 100 percent.

"That's just amazing," Kent said. "He's got the whole package and it was on display."

The Ducks (26-7) head into the NCAA tournament on a six-game winning streak. They haven't been there since 2003, also the last time they won the conference tourney.

The winning margin in their five previous victories was more than 14 points.

"I never envisioned us blowing teams out like this," Kent said. "They're on one of those special rides and hopefully it's not going to end anytime soon."

Taylor electrified the crowd of 18,259 with each shot he made, although fans only saw his point total, not his shot attempts, on the scoreboard. He broke the tourney field-goal percentage game record of .917 set by Arizona's Anthony Cook in 1989.

"At this high level, everyone wants to play their best," Taylor said. "I try to work on my shot every day, hitting 10-to-20 in a row."

His seven 3-pointers tied the mark set by Arizona's Salim Stoudamire in 2005, and Taylor tied the 3-point percentage record shared by several others.

"He's a streaky shooter," said Young, who played summer basketball with Taylor when both attended different high schools. "It was just one of those nights for him."

Taj Porter added 16 points and Aaron Brooks 15 for the Ducks, who shot 54 percent for the game. Oregon's 14 3-pointers were also a tourney record.

Porter was named the tourney MVP. Taylor and Brooks joined him on the all-tourney team, along with USC teammates Taj Gibson and Gabe Pruitt and Cal's Ryan Anderson.

Lodrick Stewart led the Trojans with 12 points, Young added 10 and Gibson grabbed 10 rebounds.

"It was embarrassing," Young said.

USC erased some of its 39-point deficit only after Oregon went to its bench. The Trojans would have set a record for the largest title-game loss in the tourney's 10-year history, but a late scoring spurt saved them the embarrassment by two points.

"We won't be watching any film on this game," USC coach Tim Floyd said.

The Trojans (23-11) were the only Pac-10 team to sweep the Ducks this season, shooting 57 percent in both games.

They never came close Saturday.

USC shot 38 percent for the game. Except for a five-point lead early, the Trojans played catchup the rest of the way.

"We weren't aggressive taking the ball to the rim," Floyd said. "We were relying on jumpers early."

Still, the Trojans expect to make the NCAA tournament for the first time in five years. Asked how the selection committee might seed his team, Floyd said, "If they watched today, it might be a 16."

Taylor dominated the start of the second half, scoring the Ducks' first eight points on two 3-pointers sandwiched around a jumper that extended their lead to 45-24.

"We weren't aware that he hadn't missed, but we knew he was hot," Porter said. "We tried to milk him and feed him the ball. Last year, he was struggling a little bit in this tournament. This is a big step for Bryce Taylor."

During one stretch, the Ducks hit six consecutive 3-pointers, including three by Taylor and two by Brooks.

Taylor put on a clinic, hitting from everywhere on a variety of shots, including a runner after slipping by USC's Daniel Hackett and a fast-break dunk.

Afterward, Taylor donned a hat and white T-shirt advertising the Ducks as tourney champions. Their first title, in 2003, also came at USC's expense.

"It's just one game," he said quietly.

For more coverage of the USC Trojans, check out USCFootball.com; for more on the Oregon Ducks, check out DuckSportsAuthority.com.



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