Ducks make NCAA tourney; BYU on Thurs.

Ducks make NCAA tourney; BYU on Thurs.

Credit: Getty Images

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 13: Members of the Oregon Ducks huddle on the court before a quarterfinal game of the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament against the UCLA Bruins at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 13, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UCLA won 82-63. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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by Associated Press

kgw.com

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 7:58 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 17 at 12:53 PM

Last season the Oregon Ducks won the Pac-12 tournament to make the NCAA tournament. This year it wasn't quite as easy.

After slumping to start conference play, the Ducks (23-9) finished the regular season with seven straight wins, including a 64-57 victory over Arizona in the finale. They beat rival Oregon State to open the conference tournament before falling to UCLA in the semifinals.

"We feel like we really put in some work this season, and to go on a late run to make that opportunity possible, it definitely feels good," Mike Moser said.

Earning the No. 7 seed in the West, Oregon heads to Milwaukee to face BYU on Thursday. As an automatic bid last season, the Ducks advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 before losing to Louisville.

It is Oregon's 12th overall trip to the NCAA tournament.

The 10th-seeded Cougars (23-11) have also surged late, winning eight of their last 10 games.

But BYU was hurt in the West Coast Conference championship game when the team lost sophomore point guard Kyle Collinsworth to a knee injury. The Cougars lost 75-64 to Gonzaga.

Collinsworth, who averaged 14 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists this season, tore his ACL and will need surgery.

"We've had a few practices and we're all just going to have to step up because replacing Kyle, you can't do it. We're all going to have to step up, especially rebounding-wise," said junior guard Matt Carlino.

BYU is making its 28th NCAA tournament appearance and seventh in the past eight years. Last season the Cougars advanced to the semifinals of the NIT.

BYU went 13-5 in the WCC, finishing second in the standings to Gonzaga. The Cougars were led by conference Player of the Year Tyler Haws with an average of 24.3 points per game.

Oregon won its first 13 games this season, jumping up to No. 10 in the AP rankings, before sliding with five straight losses.

The Ducks would lose eight of 10 before rebounding to win the next seven.

"A month ago it was out of the question," Johnathan Loyd told reporters after the tournament matchups were announced Sunday. "We fought through adversity, we showed great character and we fought back so we could put ourselves in this situation. That's what made it even sweeter when we saw our names up there in that seventh seed."

Oregon hosted BYU in December and won 100-96 in overtime.

"Once you get past the emotion and excitement of being in the tournament, you get hit pretty hard with your opponent. We're familiar with our opponent. I can remember the locker room in Eugene and the disappointment in our guys," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "For a lot of reasons I think our guys will be really excited to play."

The winner Thursday will go on to face the winner of the game between No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 15 American.

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