A berth in the Sweet 16 was on the line when Oregon took the court against the streaking, red-hot Saint Louis Billikens. A career high 23 points from Damyean Dotson, 15 points coming from behind the arc and 16 rebounds from Senior forward Arsalan Kazemi carried the Ducks to a 74-57 win over the favored Billikens Saturday afternoon. Carlos Emory contributed 14 off the bench as he and Johnathan Loyd proved to be a major factor in the win. For the first time in 6 games, SLU allowed more than 60 points to an opponent in their first loss since an overtime loss at Xavier, Johnathan Loyd said on their offensive output that, "We tried to get a lot of backdoor [cuts] and fight pressure with pressure. Dot got hot and we kept finding him and he kept shooting it." Kwamain Mitchell led SLU with 18 points and Dwayne Evans scored 16.
SLU came out in the first half with typical pressure defense in the half court which seemed to cause problems for Oregon. "I really felt like we'd be in trouble if they got their defense set," Oregon coach Dana Altman said post game, "and we were those early possessions." Midway through the first half, the Ducks would take the lead as part of a 13-4 run and would not trail again for the remainder of the game. The Ducks used a combination of defenses to flummox the Billikens on offense, not making a three in the first and finishing the game 3-27 from behind the arc. "We knew if we went in the zone we would be able to stop them from scoring the basket a lot." Dotson said in the locker room after the game. The Ducks continued to keep the pressure on, offensively and the half was capped off by a Loyd 3 pointer from the top of the key to give Oregon a 35-19 advantage at the break.
SLU would come out firing in the second half, cutting the lead to 11 in the early minutes of the half, but Oregon was quick to respond with 5 straight themselves. SLU forward, Cory Remekuin commented, "They hit all the open shots. Every time we scratched back into the game they hit that kind of dagger." In the second half the Ducks would stretch the lead to as much as 24 and never less than 11 as they rolled thanks to 14 second half points from Dotson and 7 from a struggling EJ Singler. Arsalan Kazemi dominated the glass, getting 10 of his 16 in the second half contributing to Oregon's 11 second chance points, keeping the Billikens at bay.
The Ducks reward for toppling the 4 and 5 seeds is a date with Louisville the overall #1 seed who has mowed down tournament opponents Colorado State and North Carolina A&T. The win marks the first time Oregon has made a trip to the Sweet 16 since 2007. "We turned the ball over too much, which is a big concern, knowing what's ahead of us...very excited for our basketball team, in particular the seniors who really led us." Coach Altman added after the game. It truly is a big challenge going into Indianapolis against the Cardinals, but when asked if the Ducks can beat Louisville, Johnathan Loyd was confident, "Oh yeah, we can beat them," he said before pausing and repeating himself, "We can beat them."