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Pac-12 Tournament canceled due to coronavirus, ending Washington State basketball season

UPDATED: Thu., March 12, 2020

A sign at T-Mobile Arena advertises the cancellation of the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament amid coronavirus fears Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Las Vegas. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. (John Locher / Associated Press)
A sign at T-Mobile Arena advertises the cancellation of the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament amid coronavirus fears Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Las Vegas. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. (John Locher / Associated Press)

LAS VEGAS – Wednesday’s men’s basketball nightcap between No. 11 Washington State and No. 6 Colorado at T-Mobile Arena was the final game of the Pac-12 Tournament, after the conference decided to cancel the remainder of the 2020 event due to concerns about the coronavirus illness.

Dan Wolken of USA Today was the first to report on the event’s cancellation Thursday morning, and the conference later released a statement confirming the event would not continue.

WSU (16-16) was scheduled to play Arizona State (20-11) in a quarterfinal game at 8:30 p.m. in Las Vegas. The Cougars’ 82-68 victory over the Buffaloes Wednesday was their first win in the conference tournament since the event moved to Vegas, and the program’s first since 2009.

The conference also acted to indefinitely suspend all other Pac-12 sporting competitions, according to a press release.

“The Pac-12 Conference has made the decision to cancel the remainder of the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament and all Pac-12 sport competitions and Pac-12 Championship events, effective immediately, until further notice,” the release read. “This decision has been made in consultation with our member universities in an effort to limit the spread of the virus and in the interest of the health and safety of our student-athletes, campus personnel, working and event personnel, and all those who attend Pac-12 events.”

All other conferences also announced their tournaments would not continue due to COVID-19.

WSU starting point guard Isaac Bonton reacted to the news on social media, tweeting, “So much more to prove.”

Freshman Noah Williams followed with a similar reaction on Twitter: “Might as well just cancel the world. smh (shaking my head) I’m hot.”

Senior forward Jeff Pollard fought through a broken finger to play in Wednesday’s game against Colorado – now the last of his college career with the Cougars.

“No way,” Pollard tweeted. “After fighting through everything this team has been through. I understand why, but losing another chance to fight for my brothers hurts me. So bad. Can’t believe it…”

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