The number one seeded Oregon Ducks faced off with the two seeded Oklahoma Sooners with the right to go to the Final Four on the line.
Starting in the zone for the Ducks, Oklahoma forward Khadeem Lattin got on the board first. For Oregon, Dillon Brooks answered right away with a layup of his own. With Buddy Hield knocking down two three pointers, the Sooners took a 10-5 lead in the early going. After trading baskets, the score was 12-7 Oklahoma at the first media timeout.
Buddy Hield continued his hot start with another three out of the timeout to take an eight-point lead. After trading buckets leading to a Chris Boucher three pointer the Ducks were down 17-12. Jordan Bell made yet another immediate impact of the bench with two straight rejections. After trading baskets the lead was 19-13 Oklahoma at the under-12 minute media timeout.
Out of time timeout, things didn’t go so hot for the Ducks with four straight turnovers. With just over eight minutes to play, the Ducks had turned it over seven times. At the under-eight minute media timeout the Ducks were down 24-13.
Two free throws from Cook out of the timeout brought the score back within single digits. Jordan Woodard for the Sooners rattled off a quick stretch as he nailed a three and followed it up by three free throws off of a foul from Jordan Bell. The Ducks offense continued to be ice cold while Buddy Hield and the Sooners offense hit forcing Dana Altman into a timeout down 37-21.
Oregon came out of the timeout riding the Elgin Cook train as he brought the Ducks three points over a span of two possessions. Yet after another sting of turnovers the Ducks found themselves down 42-26. At this point nothing was going well for the Ducks as nobody except Cook find anything fall. At half the score was 48-30 Oklahoma following a three pointer from Hield to close the half.
As I mentioned in the pregame, rebounding would be a major key in this one. At the half the Ducks were outrebounded 23-10, especially struggling by giving up 11 offensive rebounds. The shooting was another large key in the half as Oklahoma entered halftime shooting 64.3% from three and 50% from the field to take the advantage. Oregon was led at the half by the 16 points of Elgin Cook, while Brooks, Boucher and Dorsey combined for just eight points.
Chris Boucher got on the board first in the second half with a dunk to cut the lead to 16. Oregon began to show some sings of life in the early second half with a Tyler Dorsey three pointer and a rebound put back from Boucher. But the Buddy Hield show as not to be stopped as after five points the lead was back up to 18. After a Dwayne Benjamin three, the lead was 59-44 at the under-16 minute media timeout.
Out of the break sloppy play ensued as both teams turned it over multiple times. After an alley-oop from Brooks to Cook the Ducks were down 15 yet again. Following a Brooks free throw the Ducks were down 61-47 at the under-12 minute timeout.
Free throw shooting continued to be an ugly trend for the Ducks in Anaheim. Down 63-49 the Ducks had hit 15-23 from the foul stripe. After two foul shots from Cook followed up by a layup the Ducks were back down 12 with the crowd reinvigorated. After an Oklahoma free throw and an Oregon turnover the Sooners lea was 66-53 at the under-eight minute media timeout.
The whistles were hot and heavy against the Ducks out of the timeout, as two straight calls sent the Sooners to the line for easy points. With Dillon Brooks continuing to do nothing for the Ducks on offense, Hield yet again responded to take Oklahoma up 76-61 at the final media timeout of the game.
With the game in hand, the Oklahoma Sooners finished off the contest for an 80-68 victory to advance to the Final Four. With the loss, the Ducks finish the season with a 31-7 record, finishing with the most wins in school history.
Thank you Ducks. I’d be happy to talk about how free throws and rebounding cost Oregon this game, how Coach K’s efforts clearly affected Dillon Brooks or how with their effort I fully expect Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey to be back in Eugene next year (although I think they both enter the draft process without hiring an agent). But, for right now I’m just thankful of the season that this Oregon team has provided us this season. Sure, this leaves a bitter taste but after claiming a number one seed after an outright conference and conference tournament title this has been a fantastic season. So thank you Ducks, it’s been a great ride.
Oregon top performers
Elgin Cook. 24 points, 4 assists.
Chris Boucher. 14 points, 10 rebounds