Photo by Thomas J. Russo // USA Today
Oregon Basketball

End of the Line

March 28, 2019

Oregon’s 2018-19 men's basketball is over after a 53-49 loss to Virginia in the Sweet 16. When push came to shove, the Ducks just didn’t have enough in the tank to get past the Virginia Cavaliers.

The game was decided by just four points, and it really was that close if not closer for the whole game. From the start, it was clear that the Ducks were in for a battle with Virginia, who came out playing some of the most aggressive and suffocating defense I have ever seen on the college level.

The first half was a struggle for both teams. For the first 15 minutes, neither team could score all that efficiently as both teams were playing good defense.

One of the biggest factors in this game was paint presence, and in the first half the Ducks were getting absolutely destroyed. Offensively, Oregon struggled to attack the rim at all. And the few times it did, Virginia swarmed the player and caused a turnover.

On defense, the Ducks largely went without Francis Okoro, and the Cavaliers dominated inside and got a lot of second-chance points off offensive rebounds. Toward the end of the half, Virginia started to heat up offensively and Oregon became very turnover-prone, which resulted in Virginia taking a 30-22 lead into the locker room.

After intermission, the Ducks did what they have done all season long: fight back. On offense, they used a smaller lineup to drive to the paint and get better looks at the rim. Okoro checked in and was a much-needed presence in the paint.

Paul White, who had a very quiet first half, started to get more involved on offense and made some shots. Ehab Amin was playing with a ton of energy on both offense and defense; he had a few nice shots and created some turnovers. Louis King had a great start to the second half, scoring 9 points to give the Ducks the lead back.

And then with 5 minutes to play and the game tied at 45, the Ducks went cold offensively and got sloppy on defense. The game was replete with hot and cold streaks on both sides, but this drought came at the worst time for the Ducks.

When Virginia’s Ty Jerome made a three to give Virginia the lead, it seemed as if the Ducks started to panic. Things only got worse when Amin fouled on back-to-back possessions and was disqualified.

That loss really seemed to take the wind out of Oregon’s sails. With less than a minute to play and the game still close, Oregon was without the energy Amin might have provided.

At the end, the Ducks were forcing bad shots that killed any offensive rhythm that they had. Pritchard and King missed time after time; it looked like they had nothing left in the tank.

What's worse, the defense got sloppy and they let Virginia score an easy layup. The two-possession lead effectively ended the game.

In the end, I think the fact that Virginia grabbed 11 offensive rebounds was the biggest factor in the Oregon loss. The Ducks had a good game defensively for the most part; they didn’t allow any Virginia starter to go on a scoring tear. They just got beat in the paint.

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