From Sweet To Elite

In a year filled with milestones, the University of Oregon accomplished another one Friday night, defeating the University of Texas in a nail-biter in the 3rd round of the NCAA Tournament, 72-70. The Ducks' win advances them on to the Elite Eight, a place they haven't been since 1960.

At the opening of the game, it looked like Oregon would run away with it. Leading 12-4, 25-13 and 29-19, the Ducks were dominating the early going. The Ducks finished the first half leading 41-28.

Oregon's first half key was their defense. The Ducks held Texas star point guard T.J. Ford to only one assist in the half. He was the nation's leader in assists for the regular season. Oregon also held Texas' James Thomas, one of their leading scores in the regular season, to only two first half points.

The second half opened with a short spurt of basket trading and then a 15-2 Texas run, tying the game at 51 with 12:06 to go. The three point shooting of Texas' Brian Boddicker was huge for the Longhorns during that stretch. Boddicker made all of Texas' three pointers, three of them, during the run.

"It was a battle," Oregon Assistant Coach Greg Graham told OSN after the game. "We felt it was going to be a good game. It was close all the way like most of these tournament games are."

Immediately following Texas' big run, Oregon went on one of their own, an 8-2 run, put the Ducks up 60-53 with 9:32 to go.

Down the stretch, Oregon allowed Texas to crawl back into it on free throws and put backs. After tying the game on a pair of T.J. Ford free throws with 1:20 left, Oregon put the ball in Luke Ridnour's hands.

Ridnour coolly came down the floor and drilled a 18 footer to give Oregon a two point lead. Upon getting the ball back again, Texas fouled Oregon's James Davis, putting him at the line with a chance to ice it with 35 seconds left.

Davis missed the front end of the one and one, giving Texas a chance to tie. James Thomas posted up on the right block for Texas. After receiving the entry pass, Thomas turned and went up for the shot, making it, and drawing the foul on Robert Johnson. Thomas would miss the free throw, giving Oregon an opportunity to win it with only 23 seconds to go.

"We were going to go motion and attack the basket, and we were going to get it to Fred either way," Graham said.

Frederick Jones, who had all of two points in the game, was given the ball with the chance to win. Jones was high in the half court set. With about six seconds remaining, Jones made his move towards the hoop.

"I tried to penetrate and get a good look. I got a lot closer to the rim than I thought (I would)," Freddie Jones told CBS.

Jones went up in the middle of the key, avoided a charge and put up a George Gervin-esque finger roll. The ball bounced off the back rim, off the glass, and then tickled the twine, putting Oregon up two with little over two seconds left.

After a timeout, Texas came right down the court with the ball in T.J. Ford's hands. Ford went to the right and attempted a running 16 footer which bounced off the rim and fell harmlessly toward a Longhorn player as time expired.

Texas was led by James Thomas' 15 points on 7-13 shooting. Brian Boddicker added 13 points, going 3-4 from outside.

Luke Jackson was the Ducks' top point man once again, scoring 25 on 10-17 shooting. Jackson also grabbed six rebounds. Luke Ridnour added 20 points, and forward Robert Johnson also had 10. Freddie Jones was hampered with foul trouble the whole game and scored only four points.

Oregon's next game will be for the regional championship against the winner of the Illinois vs. Kansas game. The game will be Sunday on CBS

Stats from

eDuck Top Stories