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Thybulle breaks career steals mark in Pac-12 finals

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Senior forward Matisse Thybulle faces off against Colorado guard McKinley Wright IV on defense in Washington 66-61 win over the Buffs on Friday. The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Thybulle is a finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year.

LAS VEGAS — Matisse Thybulle put his name atop the Pac-12 record books once again, recording his 322nd career steal in Washington’s matchup against Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game.

Two and a half minutes in to the second half, Thybulle jumped a pass by Kenny Wooten, then finished it himself on a fastbreak dunk for good measure to bring the Dawgs within two, 30-28.

The steal put him ahead of Gary Payton, who racked up 321 steals for Oregon State between 1987-90.

Coming to Las Vegas with 315, Thybulle racked up five more in Washington’s tournament-opening win against USC. He got the one he needed to tie Payton’s record in the win over Colorado yesterday, and came into Saturday tied for first.

Thursday against the Trojans, Thybulle took his place atop the single-season conference list, breaking Jason Kidd’s record of 110 for Cal in the 1992-93 season. He finished the game sitting at 115 on the year, and his record-breaking steal pushes that number to 117.

Thybulle now sits at 25th all-time in college basketball history, and is seven steals away from breaking into the top-20. Providence’s John Linehan holds the NCAA career record with 385 steals from 1998-2002.

Named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season this past Monday, Thybulle is up for the national Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, which will be awarded on April 7.

Reach Sports Editor Josh Kirshenbaum at Twitter: @J_Kirshenbaum

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