Friday, 20 October, 2017

Bill Self, top-seeded Jayhawks fall short again in Elite Eight

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Damon Campbell | 09 April, 2017, 03:28

The Ducks are headed to their first Final Four since that initial NCAA tournament 78 years ago after upsetting top-seeding Kansas, 74-60, in Kansas City Saturday.

Since Chris Boucher went down with a knee injury in the Pac-12 Tournament, Tyler Dorsey and Jordan Bell have stepped up their games to help OR get to the Elite Eight. He also had 11 points and 13 rebounds on Saturday after going for 17 points and 13 boards against MI. But the Ducks scored the last eight points of the half, including back-to-back 3s from Dorsey, the last a 30-footer as the final seconds ticked off, and skipped and hopped their way to the locker room with a 44-33 advantage.

OR was able to push their lead to as many as 18 points early in the second half, and Kansas was able to cut the deficit to six with 2:49 remaining.

Tyler "Mr. March" Dorsey had 27 points for the Ducks.

Jackson finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. The Seminoles (28-6) used an 8-0 run to put the game away and will face top-seeded SC (30-4) on Monday for a Final Four berth.

It only seemed appropriate that the last six points OR scored were two by Bell following his seventh offensive board then Dorsey hitting the final four points on free throws. But the Ducks held them to a season-low total by using a mix of zone and man-to-man and watching the Jayhawks shoot just 1-of-15 from 3-point range in the second half. The Ducks survived a three-point win over Rhode Island and beat MI by one on Thursday to reach the Elite Eight.

Then in the span of 17 seconds, Kansas freshman star Josh Jackson committed two fouls, and he found himself on the bench with 17:23 left in first half.

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They were playing down the road in Sprint Center before a heavily partisan crowd that was incredibly amped at the start with KU coming off a blowout over Big Ten champion Purdue.

OR was the team playing without top shot blocker Chris Boucher, an injury that might have even bumped the Ducks from a No. 2 seed to a No. 3.

A steal and basket by Walker-Kimbrough cut the lead to 69-63 with just over 3 minutes left, capping an 8-0 Maryland run. With Mason and Lucas graduating, Jackson a likely one-and-done player and Mykhailiuk and Graham candidates to test the National Basketball Association waters, KU faces the potential of losing all five starters this offseason. With all of the shooting momentum on their side, the Ducks were able to spread the Maryland defense and find success inside and on the perimeter. Oregon, helped by Dorsey's 6-of-10 from distance, shot 11-of-25 from beyond the arc.

But one of the country's best coaches is developing an very bad big-game reputation.

FINAL FOUR THE GOAL: Kansas is trying to reach its third national semifinal under Bill Self and first since 2012, when the Jayhawks lost to Kentucky in the title game.

Mason, a man of few words but a player Self said had the best season a guard has ever put together at KU, took to the 140-character platform of Twitter for one final goodbye Saturday night. It was his seventh straight game of 20 or more points. He hit four 3-pointers in the half, including two in the final 40 seconds. Mason scored 17 points in the first half on 6-of-11 shooting. "I feel like guys recognize that and want to be remembered 20 years later when we have so we can tell them that I was one of the Final Four teams and I'm an OR legend".

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