Junior point guard Ty Jerome recorded 13 points, six rebounds and six assists as Virginia held off Oregon 53-49 in the Sweet 16 of the South Region on Thursday night at Louisville, Ky.
Freshman guard Kihei Clark scored 12 points and sophomore guard De’Andre Hunter added 11 for top-seeded Virginia (32-3), which reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in school history.
Junior guard Kyle Guy scored 10 points and junior forward Mamadi Diakite collected 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers.
Virginia will play Purdue in Saturday’s regional final. The winner advances to the Final Four.
“It wasn’t a masterpiece but as the saying goes, ‘Survive and advance,’ and we survived,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said in a postgame television interview on TBS.
Freshman forward Louis King scored 16 points for 12th-seeded Oregon (25-13). Junior point guard Payton Pritchard added 11 points and senior forward Paul White added 10 points and three steals for the Ducks, who had a 10-game winning streak halted.
Oregon missed its last five shots over the final 5:44 of the contest.
“I did a really poor job,” Ducks coach Dana Altman said. “We’ve got to get better possessions than that. That’s my job. We got rushed a little bit there and just we had poor possessions. And I told the guys in the locker room, I let them down there.”
Bennett said, “Offense can come and go, and they’re really good defensively. And we stepped up defensively, so you just hang on. You hang on and hang your hat on that defense and hopefully you get enough offense. Again, ugly is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe it wasn’t great, but I thought it was pretty good looking for us defensively.”
Clark and Jerome hit 3-point baskets to give Virginia a 48-45 lead with 3:33 remaining.
Nobody scored again until Hunter got loose for a layup to give the Cavaliers a five-point lead with 27.5 seconds left.
Pritchard hit two free throws to move Oregon within 50-47 with 17.7 seconds left. Hunter made two free throws with 13.6 seconds left to push it back to five.
King made two free throws with 1.1 seconds left to make it a three-point margin before Clark split two free throws with 0.5 seconds left to seal it for the Cavaliers.
Hunter said, “I think we played great. We were communicating, we were scrambling, keeping guys in front, rebounding. We were doing all the things we practice every day. I mean, I think those last five minutes just shows how great we can be.”
Virginia hit just 35.7 percent from the field and was 9 of 33 from 3-point range.
Oregon shot 37.8 percent from the field, including 9 of 25 from behind the arc.
The Ducks trailed by eight at halftime but opened the half with a 12-5 run, moving within 35-34 on White’s 3-pointer with 14:40 left.
The Cavaliers received a 3-pointer from Guy and a jumper from Clark to move ahead by six but Oregon rattled off the next eight points. The Ducks went ahead at 42-40 on King’s 3-pointer with 8:32 remaining.
Virginia led 30-22 at halftime despite shooting just 36.4 percent from the field. The Cavaliers missed 15 of 16 shots during one stretch.
The Ducks were up 18-13 after a dunk by sophomore forward Kenny Wooten with 5:48 remaining before Virginia responded with 10 straight points.
“For sure, I mean, we’re disappointed,” Pritchard said. “We were right there, down to the wire. We’re going to look back at this and we’re going to be — it’s going to be frustrating for a while now.”
—Field Level Media