Oregon 68 – 55 Oklahoma State
The Oregon Ducks pulled the classic 12-over-5 upset that seems to occur every year, downing the Oklahoma State Cowboys by a score of 68-55.
Eliminating the production of heralded freshman Marcus Smart throughout thee game, the Ducks used an MVP-esque performance from Arsalan Kazemi to jump out to a 11-point lead at half and hold back the Cowboys throughout the rest of the contest.
The game started off rather sloppy, with both teams trading blows and turnovers early on. Once the Ducks and Oklahoma State were able to find their rhythm, however, the game started to quickly pick its pace up. For Oregon, they saw early success from the perimeter, nailing three straight three-pointers to establish an 11-6 lead with 15:22 to play. After the Cowboys found a way to take the lead, the Ducks separated themselves from their opponents for good, using key turnovers and deadly shots to pull off the upset.
Besides the final score and the fact that Oregon will now face St. Louis in the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, here is what we loved and hated from this afternoon contest.
Deadly From Three
Heading into this game, many believed that the only way the Ducks would come out with a victory would be by establishing a dominant interior while halting the productivity of Smart, Markely Brown, and Le’Bryan Nash. And while they did accomplish the second feat to some extent–Brown had 16 points, Smart had 14, and Nash had 10–Oregon surprised everybody not only controlling the interior, but the perimeter as well.
Evidenced by their early skill from three-point range, Oregon was able to establish a balanced game that spread the Cowboys out once the Ducks really got going. At the end of the game Oregon finished 8-for-22 (36.4%) from three, downing three more from that range than their opponents. It was the first game since early in Pac-12 play that the Ducks had managed to convert eight threes in one game.
Arsalan Kazemi Goes Beast Mode
Arsalan Kazemi was far-and-above the best player in this contest, hauling in 17 rebounds to go along with his 11 points, two assists, and two steals.
Even though he was expected to have a monster game with the mediocre play of Oklahoma State’s big’s throughout the year, it was great to see him establish dominance and lead the Ducks while generating a huge surge of momentum heading into the next round.
Not Their Best
Though it was tough at times to see Oregon struggling in the opening minutes to secure the ball and keep things headed in the right direction, it is somewhat encouraging to know that they won this game even though they were not ideal in their field goal percentage nor their free throws.
The Ducks shot 39 percent from the field while hitting 14-of-21 free throws (66.7 percent).
Artis is Back
Oregon fans will know that Dominic Artis will be a crucial player in determining how far the Ducks will be able to advance in this year’s tournament. And after a few games where he was getting back into the speed of the game, Artis looked promising on the court against the Cowboys.
Racking up 13 points on the night, the standout freshman was 4-of-7 from the field and also hit 4-of-5 from the free throw line.
If he continues to get back on track against St. Louis, the Ducks could very well see themselves as a Sweet 16 team.
Not Their Best
Even though the Ducks came away with the win on Thursday and can play much better, you expect a team in the NCAA tournament to be playing its top level of basketball. Oregon did not do that on Thursday.
If they want to see themselves through to the Sweet 16, the Ducks will need to take better shots from the field while controlling the ball against a very good defensive team.
Turnover after Turnover Early On
There was a point early in the game where the Ducks could very well have fallen way behind had the Cowboys been able to make a shot.
Oregon committed 18 turnovers throughout the course of the game, with many of them coming during crucial moments.
They need to shore up their fast-paced attack in their next game if they don’t want to fall behind by quite a margin early on.