Rushed Reactions: #3 Oregon 74, #1 Kansas 60Posted by Brian Goodman on March 25th, 2017
RTC will be providing coverage of the NCAA Tournament from start to finish. Brian Goodman (@BSGoodman) is in Kansas City this weekend.
Three Key Takeaways.
- Oregon rides explosive first half and timely second half shots to Glendale. The Ducks made every kind of shot you could think of in the early going, but unlike Purdue in its hot start against Kansas on Thursday night, Oregon was able to make it stick. The Ducks then proceeded to pour it on the Jayhawks to the tune of 1.42 points per possession in the first half, topped off by a Tyler Dorsey three-pointer from beyond NBA range just before the buzzer sounded. Though the offense regressed in the second half when the Ducks worked on killing the clock, they made shots seemingly every time Kansas appeared to go on a run.
- Jordan Bell stops Kansas silent at the rim. The Ducks’ hyper-athletic forward controlled the paint on defense, blocking eight shots and altering several more in addition to pulling down 13 rebounds. Bell’s presence inside was so intimidating that Kansas seemed to either think twice before attacking the lane or made costly mistakes whenever they got close to the bucket. The Jayhawks shot an uncharacteristic 8-of-17 on layups and were significantly influenced by the work inside of the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
- Frank Mason gets little from his supporting cast. The leading candidate for National Player of the Year came to play tonight (21 points, four rebounds, four assists), but his teammates came well short of expectations — especially considering their performance to this point and the location in a familiar environment. Josh Jackson picked up two early fouls and didn’t crack the box score until midway through the second half. Devonte’ Graham was similarly quiet after coming into Saturday’s game on an absolute tear, and frontcourt stalwart Landen Lucas was outrebounded by every Oregon starter save for point guard Dylan Ennis. The Jayhawks had their share of looks from long range in the second half, but went just 1-of-15 from deep after halftime, sending Kansas home earlier than the Jayhawks had planned.
Star Of The Game. Tyler Dorsey (27 points, 9-of-13 FG, 6-of-10 3FG). There’s a very good argument for Bell in this space, but Dorsey’s shot-making and the confidence he inspired lifted Oregon in the closest thing this NCAA Tournament had to a true road game. He gets extra points here for his execution in the second half, as he became the go-to guy whenever Kansas started to get the crowd involved.
Quotable. Dillon Brooks looked way more comfortable than any opponent should be when playing Kansas at the Jayhawks’ second home, and his faith in the Ducks was apparent from the opening tip. “There was no doubt [we could beat Kansas]. We were locked in and focused the entire game. We were ready to succeed. We were diving on the floor, making all of the hustle plays and we were out there playing for all of our teammates. I am just happy for my teammates that we can celebrate this moment.”
Sights and Sounds. Bell’s most impressive stretch of the night came midway through the first half — with Oregon leading 14-12, the junior roared through the line for a tomahawk dunk and got back on defense with enough time to reject a Svi Mykhailiuk layup attempt.
What’s Next. Oregon heads to its first Final Four since the inaugural event in 1939 where it will play the winner of Sunday’s Elite Eight tilt between North Carolina and Kentucky.