No. 1 seed Virginia outlasts No. 12 Oregon 53-49

Gary B. Graves Ap Sports Writer
Friday, March 29, 2019
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Virginia’s Ty Jerome (11) is fouled by Oregon’s Payton Pritchard (3) during the second half of a men’s NCAA Tournament college basketball South Regional semifinal game, Friday in Louisville, Ky. Virginia won 53-49.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Ty Jerome's 3-pointer was memorable not only for its timing, but because it marked one of the few Virginia made against Oregon.

Jerome gave the Cavaliers a three-point lead with 3:34 remaining, and then they used their trademark defense to smother the Ducks and make it stand.

No. 1 seed Virginia reached its second regional final in four years with a 53-49 victory over 12th-seeded Oregon on Thursday night in the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers face thirdseeded Purdue in the South Regional finals Sunday for a trip to the Final Four.

The Cavaliers (32-3) shot 36 percent and matched a season low in scoring, but got baskets when needed to outlast the Ducks (25-13). Jerome's 3 was the biggest as he took Kihei Clark's pass and converted from deep to make it 48-45.

A follow-up from behind the arc would have been even better for the junior guard, who obviously wanted breathing room in a tight defensive game.

"Honestly, right now I'm just thinking about the one I missed after that," said Jerome, who scored 13 points and made 3 of 8 from long range and 5 of 12 overall. "That would have really sealed the game."

Of his clutch shot, Jerome added, "We started doing a better job of moving. Kihei (Clark) found me in the right spot, and I think Dre (Hunter) or Mamadi (Diakite) set a great screen. I think they did a great job of finding me in the right spot."

Virginia clamped down from there holding Oregon scoreless for more than five minutes after the Ducks went ahead, 45-42, on Louis King's 3 with 5:43 left.

Clark tied it with a 3 with 5:21 left and De'Andre Hunter got free for a layup for 24 seconds left for a five-point edge that was enough to stop Oregon's 10-game winning streak.

"At times we struggled," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said, "but we made enough offensive plays and certainly rallied defensively."

Most important for Virginia was moving a game closer to its first Final Four since 1984. That goal seemed shaky as the Cavaliers had to rally past No. 16 seed Gardner-Webb in the first round, but they recovered to win that game before beating Oklahoma.

Oregon presented a completely different challenge. The Ducks were on a roll and winning big thanks to a lineup featuring four 6-foot-9 starters, but the Cavaliers kept them from being a factor to reach the regional final.

"I mean, it's definitely a milestone for us," Virginia guard Braxton Key said. "But we're not done yet."

Clark finished with 12 points, six assists and four rebounds. Diakite grabbed 11 rebounds as Virginia edged Oregon 34-31 on the glass and held the Ducks to 38 percent shooting.

King's 16 points led Oregon, while Payton Pritchard had 11 and Paul White 10. The Ducks had hoped to reach their third Elite Eight in four years but struggled all night to score — especially down the stretch.

"They make a lot of people take bad shots," coach Dana Altman said. "But we didn't handle that very well."

'TIL NEXT YEAR

Oregon's loss denied Altman from becoming the program's winningest coach. He entered the game tied with Ernie Kent at 235 wins but must wait until the Ducks' season opener for another chance to stand alone.

TECH, FALL, FAIL

Diakite and Oregon reserve guard Ehab Amin were each called for technical fouls following a secondhalf confrontation under Virginia's basket. Diakite swung around several times to get defenders off him, but ended up in a staredown with Amin, who suddenly fell to the floor in an apparent flop.

BY THE NUMBERS

Virginia held an opponent below 50 points for the 11th time this season. ... Oregon's bench outscored Virginia 8-0, all by Amin.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon: After beating opponents by an average of 18 points during their run, the Ducks were slowed down and then shut down by Virginia. They made just 9 of 25 from long range and were caught off guard defensively several times as Virginia found its post men inside and topped the Ducks 18-14 in the paint.

"We were right there, down to the wire," Pritchard said. "We're going to look back at this, and we're going to be ... It's going to be frustrating for a while now."

Virginia: The Cavaliers continued their mastery at the KFC Yum! Center, winning their fifth consecutive visit. This one wasn't pretty, but it was effective. And they didn't need a big game from Hunter, who scored 26 points to beat Louisville 64-52 here last month.

UP NEXT

Virginia: The Cavaliers last played Purdue in 2006.

TEXAS 63, MICHIGAN 44

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — More than 24 minutes into the game, the nation's best defense had yet to allow its 20th point.

Yes, Texas Tech makes it tough on people. One more clamp-down job like this and the Red Raiders will be D-ing up in the Final Four.

Jarett Culver's 22 points were a mere subplot in thirdseeded Tech's 63-44 takedown of No. 2 Michigan in the West Region on Thursday night — a victory that set up an intriguing Elite Eight showdown against Gonzaga, which boasts the country's leading offense.

Texas Tech (29-6) is back to this point for the second straight year thanks to a shut-down job of epic proportions. The Raiders held an efficient-if-not-spectacular Michigan (30-7) offense to 16 field goals, 32 percent shooting and only a single 3-point basket on 19 attempts — a clanker by C.J. Baird in mop-up duty that drooled in with 21.8 seconds left.

PURDUE 99,

TENNESSEE 84

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Carsen Edwards scored 29 points as Purdue advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000, needing overtime to beat Tennessee 99-94 Thursday night after blowing an 18-point lead.

The third-seeded Boilermakers (26-9) will play either top-seeded Virginia or No. 12 seed Oregon on Saturday in the South Regional final for their first trip to the Final Four since 1980.

Purdue is in a regional final for the fifth time, but first with coach Matt Painter, who had gotten the team to the round of 16 four times previously.

The co-Big Ten champs needed a pair of free throws by Edwards with 1.7 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime after the star guard was fouled shooting a 3.

Grant Williams' dunk with 8.8 seconds left had Tennessee (31-6) on the verge of the Vols' second Elite Eight berth all-time. But Edwards then was fouled by Lamonte' Turner on a corner jumper. Purdue's all-time leading scorer in the NCAA Tournament missed his first attempt, but tied it at 82.

It was Tennessee's second straight overtime game in this tournament. The Vols blew a 25-point lead to Iowa in the second round, but recovered to win it in OT. The last team to blow consecutive overtime games in the NCAA Tournament was Florida in 2011. The Gators beat BYU and lost to Butler.

GONZAGA 72, FLORIDA

STATE 58

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Gonzaga is in the Elite Eight for the fourth time in history following a 72-58 victory over Florida State in the opening West regional semifinal on Thursday night.

Rui Hachimura scored 17 points to lead the top-seeded Bulldogs, while Brandon Clarke had 15 points and 12 rebounds as Gonzaga returned to the regional final for the second time in three seasons.

Josh Perkins and Zach Norvell Jr. each scored 14 points for Gonzaga, which led most of the game. Florida State pulled within four with less five minutes to play but the Bulldogs closed with a 12-2 run and avenged last year's loss to the Seminoles in the regional semifinals.

Trent Forrest led fourthseeded Florida State (29-8) with 20 points. The Seminoles advanced to the Sweet 16 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1993, but fell one step short of another trip to the Elite Eight.

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