KANSAS CITY – At halftime, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott identified the feature that just might be the Oregon Ducks’ best trait.
“The thing about them,” Scott said at halftime, when Oregon held an 11-point lead, “is they’re not intimidated by anything.”
Not by Kansas’ top seed. Or the Jayhawks dazzling array of talent. Or their NCAA Tournament resume – three victories by an average margin of 30 points. Or even a capacity crowd at the Sprint Center that was perhaps 90 percent Kansas fans – a home-court advantage rarely seen in men’s NCAA Tournament play.
The No. 3 Ducks took control early, then held on late to win 74-60. Oregon (33-5) advances to the Final Four for the first time since 1939, when the “Tall Firs” won the first NCAA championship.
Tyler Dorsey’s contested 3-pointer as the shot clock was about to expire with under two minutes to play quenched a Kansas rally and silenced the crowd. On the next possession, Jordan Bell grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, highlighting his contributions – 11 points, 13 rebounds, eight blocks.
And then, after a few more Kansas misses, most of a stunned crowd filed out of the building as the Ducks and a few hundred fans celebrated. Oregon coach Dana Altman, in his seventh season, has advanced to the Final Four for the first time, too.
Dorsey, a sophomore guard, finished with 27 points, including several critical shots. Late in the first half, he buried consecutive 3s to stretch the Ducks’ lead to 44-33 at halftime.
Oregon led by as many as 18 points, 55-37, after Dillon Brooks’ 3-pointer with 14:37 left. Kansas gradually climbed back in it, but couldn’t overcome poor shooting – 35 percent for the game, 28 percent and 1-of-15 from 3-point range in the second half.
Fran Mason III led Kansas with 21 points, but just four came in the second half.
Led by Dorsey, Oregon grabbed an early lead and held it throughout the first half. He hit four 3-pointers in the half, including two in the final 40 seconds.
Things went awry for Kansas early when talented freshman guard Josh Jackson committed two fouls in a single possession early in the half. He left the game with 17:23 remaining in the first half. He returned to play the final 8:45, but didn’t score.
Mason kept the Jayhawks in it by scoring 15 in a row during one late stretch.