Oregon upsets Oklahoma State to advance
by David Leon Moore, USA TODAY Sports
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Oregon has refrained all week from saying the NCAA tournament selection committee made a big mistake in relegating the Pac-12 tournament champs to a No. 12 seed.
On Thursday, the Ducks’ stellar play spoke for them.
And, after a dominant 68-55 triumph over No. 5 seed Oklahoma State, their opponent spoke for them, too.
“I’m sure the committee would agree they made a mistake,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. “They certainly weren’t a typical ’12′ seed. You could see they were a really good basketball team. Actually, where they were seeded has kind of been the talk of the tournament.”
In 40 minutes of impressive play, Oregon gave the Pac-12 a tournament pulse and undid some of the disrespect paid to the league the past two years. Heck, last year’s Pac-12 regular season champ (Washington) wasn’t even invited to the tournament.
Oregon played with heart and passion and, even though Oklahoma State had one of the best players in the nation in All-American freshman guard Marcus Smart, the Ducks were the smarter team, too.
The Ducks (27-8), who won the Pac-12 tourney last week, ran out to a big lead and never looked back. Now they move on to a third-round matchup Saturday against No. 4 seed St. Louis.
The Ducks’ balanced offense was led by freshman guards Damyean Dotson (17 points) and Dominic Artis (13, plus four steals), reserve forward Carlos Emory (12 points, plus nine rebounds) and forward Arsalan Kazemi (11, plus 17 rebounds). Season leading scorer E.J. Singler missed nine of 12 shots and had eight points.
Kazemi, the first Iranian national to play Division I basketball who transferred to Oregon after three seasons at Rice, was a major factor inside, taking over the rebounding battle, which Oregon won 44-32. He has averaged about 10 rebounds per game in his four-year career.
“Sometimes my teammates tell me I am taking their rebounds,” Kazemi said. “I apologize if I am getting theirs, but I’m just jumping to get it, and that’s how that goes.”
Oklahoma State tried to rally back from an 11-point halftime deficit but couldn’t find any consistency on offense … [For more on Oregon upsets Oklahoma State to advance, click here.]