Poor start ends Oregon run in NCAA tournament

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 30, 2013
Blame Oregon's poor start for its disappointing finish. The Ducks missed eight of their first 11 shots and got outscored by Russ Smith through the first 10 minutes Friday night. They came back to make a game of it late, but the Ducks never could overcome that early hole in a 77-69 loss to top-seeded Louisville. ''If it wasn't for the beginning, it would have been a completely different game,'' Johnathan Loyd said. ''We just came out, we weren't ready and we got smacked. If we were playing the way were playing in the second half the whole game, it's a completely different story.'' Five Ducks (28-9) scored in double figures, led by E.J. Singler's 15. Oregon is only the second team to be within single digits at the buzzer during Louisville's 13-game winning streak, and the 12th-seeded Ducks handled that nasty press with ease. Their 12 turnovers were the fewest by a Louisville opponent since March 5, and were one less than the Cardinals had. But the combination of Smith and Kevin Ware was simply too much for the Ducks. Smith matched his career high with 31 points, and Ware made a layup to end Oregon's late rally that pulled the Ducks within 70-64 with 5:12 to play. ''When you let a good team like Louisville be the aggressor,'' Oregon coach Dana Altman said, ''they're tough to beat.'' The Cardinals (32-5) were barely tested in either of their first two games in the NCAA tournament, beating North Carolina A&T by 31 and Colorado State by 26. They set an NCAA tournament record with 20 steals against A&T, outrebounded one of the country's best rebounding teams in Colorado State and left both teams with ugly shooting lines. But Smith's hacking cough from the last few days is making its way around the Louisville team, and it was clear from the start this wasn't going to be another juggernaut performance by the Cardinals. Peyton Siva spent the last 15:19 of the first half on the bench after picking up his second foul, and Louisville wasn't nearly as stingy on defense as it's been. Not that Oregon could take much advantage of it early, falling behind by 16 before the mid-point of the first half. ''I didn't feel like we put our best foot forward in the first half,'' Altman said. ''I'm disappointed we didn't come out a little bit looser and more prepared, and that's as much my fault as it is the team. We were just stuck in the mud those first 10 minutes.'' Early foul trouble didn't help, with Loyd picking up his third before halftime and Dominic Artis and Carlos Emory playing the last six minutes of the half with two. Nor did a slow start by Damyean Dotson, who didn't make a field goal until five minutes were gone in the second half. But the Ducks aren't a team that gives in. After losing six of their last 11 regular-season games, the Ducks have been on a tear. They won the Pac-12 tournament, then upset Oklahoma State and Saint Louis last weekend. After Luke Hancock's 3 capped a 12-2 run that put Louisville up 66-48, the Ducks would make six straight field goals. When Dotson knocked down a jumper with 5:12 remaining, it got Oregon within six, the closest it had been since early in the first half. Closest anyone had been to Louisville since the Big East tournament, actually. ''We've been in that position before this year,'' Singler said. But part of what makes the Cardinals so imposing is their maturity and their options, which seem endless. Instead of panicking, the Cardinals regrouped and regained control, and the Ducks never threatened again. ''I told our guys, `We don't have it tonight. It's obvious,''' coach Rick Pitino said. ''We're winning with offense and that's great, but we've got to start digging in and getting stops. We did it at the end.'' Ware brought a halt to the Oregon run with his layup and then came a monstrous dunk by Chane Behanan. Smith made a pair of free throws, and the only question was whether the Ducks could get back within single digits before the buzzer. Ware finished with 11, topping his previous career best by one, and Gorgui Dieng had 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots. ''We've been a great defensive team - not a good one, a great one - all season,'' Pitino said. ''Tonight, their quickness was so good, all it did was wear us out defensively. But we had Russ Smith and Kevin really bail us out of some situations that could have gone either way.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mike Trout progressing towards return before All-Star break

There's nowhere for Chris Paul to go

Mother Nature stops Tim Tebow's St. Lucie debut

Carson Palmer not sure if 2017 will be his last NFL season

Report: Spurs, Clippers among teams interested in Andre Iguodala

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Vanderbilt players shot while trying to get teammate’s phone back from thief

Would adding George, Hayward make Celtics a super-team?

Kevin Durant congratulates Russell Westbrook for earning MVP honors

Colts QB coach: Andrew Luck should not be double-digit INT guy

Jim Kelly praises Sean McDermott, throws shade at Rex Ryan

Did John Paxson just admit the Bulls are tanking?

Although you have seen this start before, this season is no sequel for the Dodgers

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

Who won Wimbledon the year you were born?

Box Score 6/27: Monday is for all sorts of ballers

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

2017 is not another disappointing sequel for the Dodgers

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker