GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Oregon Ducks first trip to the Final Four since 1939 ended in heartbreaking fashion with a 77-76 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels.
The Ducks trailed 66-56 with eight minutes to go before making a furious comeback, which came up one point short after North Carolina got two offensive rebounds after missing four straight free throws, and was able to run the clock out.
As for the two missed rebound opportunities at the end of the game, Ducks coach Dana Altman said all his players felt bad but one player took it particularly tough.
"Jordan (Bell) felt terrible but I told him, ‘Buddy you got 16 rebounds. We wouldn’t have been in this position if it weren’t for you.’”
Bell, a 6-foot-9 junior, finished the game with 13 points and 16 rebounds to cap off an impressive tournament.
Ducks junior guard Casey Benson said he wish he would have dove for the ball when one of the last rebounds was tipped out.
Although the missed rebounds didn't give the Ducks one last shot to win the game, Altman said the team had too many unforced errors early in the game that ended up costing them.
"We put ourselves in a bad position that was tough dig out of because of some bad decisions, some quick threes, and some really bad turnovers.
In addition to Bell's strong performance, sixth-year senior guard Dylan Ennis played one of his best games of the year, scoring 18 points and grabbing 6 rebounds.
"Dylan Ennis, this was his last game. That sense of urgency when you're a senior and you think it's the last time you could get to play, that takes it up a notch," Altman said of Ennis' effort.
Like Ennis and Bell, Altman said this year's team was as competitive as he's ever had, and it showed when the Ducks fought back after falling behind by 10 points in the second half.
"Those guys are great competitors. I thought that was the greatest characteristic they had," Altman said.
In the end the Ducks won 33 games in a season fans will remember for the rest of their lives. Altman said it will take some time, but he's sure he and his players will come to appreciate how special this season was.
"I think when they look back, they're going to have really good feelings about it. But it will take a while for the sting to get over," he said.
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