Saturday, March 17, 2007

#3 Oregon 58, #14 Miami (OH) 56

The third-seeded Ducks rallied from their early deficit behind the 18 points of Aaron Brooks, and Oregon matched the RedHawks' grinding style to pull out a 58-56 win on Friday. While Oregon (27-7) is still an offensive power, its defense that has been the key to a late season resurgence, and now seven-game win streak.

Tim Pollitz scored 21 points and Bramos added 18 for the RedHawks, who were in the tournament for the first time since 1999 when Wally Szczerbiak carried a 10th-seeded Miami to the round of 16. Bryce Taylor added 14 points and Marty Leunnen added 13 points for the Ducks.

It was expected to be a matchup of styles, but the Ducks were willing to play at Miami's pace. That's because of the confidence in their own defense during the last seven games. The RedHawks are the fifth team in the last seven games that Oregon has held under 60 points.
That may not be such an accomplishment against Miami. But the list also includes Arizona, Washington State and Southern California.

Seeing the RedHawks taking advantage of their size on the interior, Oregon's coach went to an attacking zone defense. That move forced Miami to the perimeter, where it went cold, going almost 10 minutes of the first half without scoring. Miami ended the season as the only team in the country not to give up more than 70 points in a game.

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