Representing the # 1 and # 4 seeds of the West bracket the 30-6 Oregon Ducks take on the 25-10 Duke Blue Devils on Thursday night in the Sweet Sixteen. Oregon overcame a 7-point deficit with 5 minutes remaining to beat the 8th seeded St. Josephs Hawks 69-64 to advance. With the win, Oregon tied a school record with 30 wins in a season and are ranked # 1 in the tournament for the first time in the program’s history. Duke held on despite letting a 27 point second half lead get to 3 with 1 minute remaining to beat the 12th seeded Yale Bulldogs.
Sophomore guard Dillon Brooks led a balanced Oregon offense with 25 points on 7 of 13 shooting. Forward Elgin Cook also had a nice game with 18 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Jordan Bell came off the Bench and led the team in rebounding with 10. Defensively, they forced St. Joseph’s into 12 turnovers and were able to block 7 shots to go along with 5 steals. If there was a negative in this game it was they were outrebounded 37-35 and they only got 5 points from their bench. Brooks and Cook combined to score 32 of the teams 37 second-half points. As a team, they shot 80 percent from the free-throw line making 21 of 25 attempts. On the season, Oregon was ranked 39th in the nation in offensive rebounding with 11.5 per game. This is the school’s 5th Sweet Sixteen appearance with their last coming in 2013.
Duke kept their hopes alive at repeating as champions thanks to Brandon Ingram and Grayson Allen’s big offensive games. Allen had 29 points including 5 three-pointers while Ingram added 25 points and 5 rebounds. In fact, 67 of Dukes 71 points came from Allen, Ingram and Luke Kennard who chipped in with 13. Duke’s offensive was ranked 17th this year in points scored per game with 81. Defensively, they did a great job guarding the three-point line as Yale only made 4 of their 23 attempts. They also had 7 blocks and 6 steals. The biggest negative for Duke was that they were outrebounded 42-28 including 20-5 on the offensive end. On the season, Duke is allowing their opponents to average of 72.2 points per game on 44.3% shooting.
Duke enters this contest having won 3 of their last 5 games while Oregon is on an 8 game win streak. Both of these teams shoot 46 percent from the field and average 36 rebounds per game but Oregon gives up only 58 points per game while duke gives up 74.5. Oregon is 22-11-1 against the spread this year including 18-8-1 as the favorite. Duke is 16-7 against the spread this year including 1-3-0 as the underdog. Staying out of foul trouble is key for both teams due to both teams lack of bench scoring. While Oregon’s bench scored 5 points last game, Duke’s bench managed 2 against Yale.
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