It was supposed to be a perfect night for the Kansas Jayhawks. They won their first three games of the NCAA Tournament in dominating fashion, and playing just 40 miles from home, in front of a very pro-KU crowd in the Sprint Center, everything was set up perfectly for the Jayhawks.
Kansas started out slow in the opening minutes, something we have seen multiple times throughout the NCAA Tournament from this team. This time, however, it proved to be too much to overcome.
Superstar freshman Josh Jackson picked up two quick fouls in the opening minutes of the game, placing him on the bench for a good portion of the first half, something that head coach Bill Self thought had an impact.
“You take an All-American talent off the floor certainly that did change things from a momentum standpoint, especially when they were playing very well,” Self said.
It was back and forth for a majority of the opening half before Oregon closed on a 8-0 run capped by a three point shot by Tyler Dorsey that banked in as time expired to give the Ducks a 44-33 lead at the half.
The only thing that kept the Jayhawks afloat in the first half was the steady play of the senior National Player of the Year candidate, Frank Mason. He totaled 17 points in the first half alone, while Devonte’ Graham and Josh Jackson were kept out of the scoring column completely in the first 20 minutes of action.
The Jayhawk faithful in Kansas City, Missouri were waiting for a push from Kansas in the second half, but it never really came.
At one point, Oregon took an 18 point advantage on a Dillon Brooks 3 pointer with 14:40 left to make the score 55-37 in favor of the Ducks.
The closest the Jayhawks could get was six, when Svi Mkyalihuk drained a 3 pointer from the corner with 2:53 left to make the score 66-60.
On the following possession after the lead had been cut to six, the Jayhawks played good defense for the entirety of the shot clock, but couldn’t come up with the rebound after a missed shot. On their second chance, Tyler Dorsey knocked down a three-point basket to essentially seal the deal for Oregon.
Kansas shot just 35% from the field as a team, and were an abysmal 5-25 from outside the three-point arch.
“It’s hard to admit, the best team did win today. I don’t think we ever really put our best foot forward like we have very consistently all season long,” Self said about the team’s performance.
Tyler Dorsey led the way for Oregon with 27 points on 9-13 shooting. Dillon Brooks also chipped in with 17 points, and Jordan Bell was a force underneath tallying 11 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 blocks.
In his final game in a Kansas uniform, Frank Mason finished with 21 points in an Elite 8 loss.