Virginia advanced to the elite eight with a scrappy win over sleeper 12 seed Oregon in Louisville, 53-49. Virginia, despite having issues scoring, locked up the Ducks athletic lineup and controlled the tempo to bring the Cavaliers to their second elite eight in four years.
Oregon held a 16-10 advantage over the south’s top ranked team in the middle of the first half, but Virginia battled back to take an eight point advantage into the break, when Mamadi Diakite converted on a nifty jump hook as time expired.
Virginia had a lead for most of the second half, however, Oregon went on an 8-0 run with just over 8 minutes to play to grab its first lead since 18-16. The game would go back and forth for 3 minutes, with each team trading buckets, but a Ty Jerome 3 pointer with 3:33 left to play put Virginia up for good. The Hoos knocked down their free throws to secure the win.
Jerome led the Cavaliers with 13 points on 3-8 three point shooting, but the standouts in the game were Diakite, who gave Virginia a spark defensively and on the glass with 11 boards, and freshman Kihei Clark, who scored 12, going 4-9 from the field. Oregon was led by freshman Louis King who posted 16 points. Peyton Pritchard recoded 11 points, but went just 1 for 6 from beyond the arc.
Virginia will face Purdue on Saturday, as Tony Bennett looks to finally get into the group of elite coaches by getting his first Final Four appearance.