SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)– Oregon is riding its much-debated No. 12 seed all the way to the round of 16.
Damyean Dotson scored 23 points, Carlos Emory added 14 points and the hot-shooting Ducks sprinted past fourth-seeded Saint Louis 74-57 in the NCAA tournament Saturday night.
Dotson made his first five 3-pointers to carry Oregon (28-8) into the second weekend for the first time since 2007, when it lost to eventual repeat champion Florida in the regional final. The Ducks made 8 of 11 shots from beyond the arc, while the Billikens finished 3 for 21 from long range.
Oregon will play No. 1 overall seed Louisville in the Midwest Regional in Indianapolis next. The Cardinals routed Colorado State 82-56 in Lexington, Ky.
Kwamain Mitchell scored 18 points and Dwayne had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Billikens (28-7), who set a school record in wins this season following the death of coach Rick Majerus in December. Instead of a storybook finish, Saint Louis lost in the round of 32 for the second straight year.
Oregon’s size and speed just overwhelmed Saint Louis.
The Ducks’ defense extended into a full-court press, forcing Saint Louis to play faster than it wanted. With a series of stops providing easy breakaways, Oregon’s bright black-and-yellow uniforms blurred all over the court.
The open space played perfectly into what the Ducks do best: find seams and shoot. Dotson, Emory and E.J. Singler (14 points) each made a 3-pointer before Johnathan Loyd capped the 25-8 run to end the half with another from the top of the arc in the final seconds, lifting his hand in the air after giving Oregon a 35-19 lead at the break.
The Billikens blitzed the Ducks in the first few minutes of the second half. Evans converted two quick layups and Mitchell made a 3-pointer to slice Oregon’s lead to 37-26.
The small sprinkling of blue-and-white faithful that sat behind the Saint Louis bench stood and cheered. A few brief bursts withstanding, the arena had an overwhelming Pac-12 flavor as Oregon and California — which was facing Syracuse in the night session as part of the East bracket — flooded the facility with fans.
The Ducks built back a 44-28 lead carried by its defense, including Loyd stealing the ball from blue-haired Cody Ellis and finishing strong with a layup on the other end. Saint Louis made a couple of late runs but never got closer than 11 points.
The Billikens had to endure a few late highlights that will surely illuminate Oregon’s run even more. The Ducks just about put the game away when Dotson tossed a midair bounce pass down the sideline for Emory, whose corner 3-pointer put Oregon ahead 58-39 with 8:16 remaining.
Dotson is 16 of 30 from beyond the arc since the start of the Pac-12 tournament. He had been 0 for 12 from long range in the five previous games.
Arsalan Kazemi had eight points and 16 rebounds for Oregon. The Iranian-born player added to the rout by finishing a late alley-oop from Loyd. Kazemi has 33 rebounds in the two tournament games.
The Quack Attack has been at its best this March.
While the selection committee turned some heads for seeding Oregon so low, there is no doubting this team anymore. All the Ducks have done is tie for second place in the Pac-12 in the regular season, win the conference tournament and beat No. 5 seed Oklahoma State 68-55 before sending Saint Louis home.
The Billikens lost in the round of 32 year to No. 1 seed Michigan State last year after snapping a 12-year NCAA tournament drought. The deepest run the school ever made was to the quarterfinals in 1952, when there were only 16 teams in the tournament.