Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Top 25 Notebook: Oklahoma, Villanova advance to Final Four

(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The No. 2 Oklahoma men’s basketball team dismantled top-seeded Oregon on Saturday night 80-68 to advance to its first Final Four since 2002.

Oklahoma (29-7, 12-6 Big 12) was led by superstar Buddy Hield, who finished with 37 points, 13 more than the Ducks’ (31-7, 14-4 Pac 12) leading scorer Elgin Cook.

Hield’s eight 3-pointers kept the Sooners in the lead comfortably for the majority of the game. Meanwhile, teammate Jordan Woodard scored 13 points and knocked down all five of his attempts from the free throw line to add to Hield’s dominant effort.

The Oklahoma star’s performance in the tournament has pushed his average points per game up to 25.4 on the season, with no signs of slowing down under pressure.

While Hield did not put up any assists in his 39 minutes played on Saturday, he showed early on he didn’t need much help His outside shot was a major reason the Sooners were up by 18 after the first half and never looked back.

In the victory, Oklahoma shot 50 percent from beyond the arc, while Oregon made just four of its 21 shots from long range. The Ducks had 13 more free throws than the Sooners, but could not string together multiple stops against Hield and Co.  

Cook recorded 24 points for the Ducks, while Chris Boucher finished with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Villanova upsets Kansas

Kansas, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, fell to No. 2 Villanova 64-59 on Saturday night, setting up a matchup of No. 2 seeds in the Final Four and snapping the Jayhawks’ 17-game winning streak.

The Wildcats’ (33-5, 16-2 Big East) defense was the story of the game, as their stand against Kansas (33-5, 15-3 Big 12) in the final minute resulted in a steal by Mikal Bridges to seal the upset.

Kris Jenkins, Josh Hart and Ryan Arcidiacono each tallied 13 points for Villanova, which will make its first appearance in the Final Four since 2009, showing off its even-powered offense and lethal shooting despite lacking a big-name star.

Meanwhile, Jayhawks sophomore guard Devonte’ Graham led Kansas in scoring with 17 points in a losing effort, while teammates Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr. both played well, scoring 16 points a piece. Graham was 5-for-9 from 3-point territory and recorded seven rebounds before fouling out. With the exception of Graham, Kansas went 1-for-13 from beyond the arc.

The biggest storyline from the Jayhawks’ loss was the notable lack of scoring from senior forward Perry Ellis, who put up just four points in what was his worst offensive game of the season.

The Wildcats will take on Oklahoma next Saturday in Houston, Texas at a time to be determined. Syracuse topped Virginia 68-62 Sunday night to also advance in the tournament, while Notre Dame and North Carolina vied for the final spot in the Final Four that same night.

That game had not concluded at the time of printing Sunday night.

Leo Stern can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @lstern3.

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    GlennMar 28, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    I’d love to see Villanova vs. Syracuse in the finals. What a story that would be!