Oregon Holds Off Miami, 58-56
March 16, 2007
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - When Oregon realized it couldn't run away from Miami, the Ducks didn't get frustrated. They got tough on defense.
Aaron Brooks scored 18 points and the third-seeded Ducks held off No. 14-seed Miami 58-56 in the first round of the Midwest Regional on Friday.
The pesky RedHawks (18-15) had a chance to tie it late, but Michael Bramos' fallaway 3-point attempt bounced off the front of the rim. It was an unlikely 3-pointer that put Miami into the NCAA tournament - Doug Penno banked in a 3 at the buzzer to beat Akron in the Mid-American Conference championship game.
Oregon moves into the second round for the first time since 2002, and won its seventh consecutive game, all coming after the Ducks rediscovered a defense that helped them to a 13-0 start.
And defensive stops were at a premium in the second half when the RedHawks made a series of charges, twice closing within one, then cutting an 11-point lead to 54-51 with 1:45 left.
Brooks' jumper with a minute left was blocked - his second straight shot attempt blocked - and Tim Pollitz swished a short, baseline jumper with 40 seconds left to get Miami within 54-53.
Brooks then held the ball for 15 seconds, before slashing down the right side of the lane. He was fouled hard, but made both free throws for a three-point Oregon advantage with 21.1 seconds left.
The RedHawks went to Bramos, who hit three 3-pointers in the first half. He came off a screen of Nathan Peavey, but Joevan Catron stepped out and forced a fallaway attempt from 25 feet. It missed and Maarty Leunen grabbed the rebound, was fouled and hit both free throws.
Bramos then tossed up a half-court shot at the buzzer that swished for the final margin, but mattered little to Bramos, who showed no emotion and pulled his No. 24 jersey over his head.
Pollitz finished with 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.