Oregon – Colorado Men’s Basketball Summary 3-16-24

Oregon’s NCAA Tournament bid hopes for this season all hinge on the last Pac 12 Championship Game. Win and you’re in. Lose and your season is over – a true elimination game.

Playing three games in three days is never easy. Same goes for playing the same team three times in a season. Colorado beat Oregon in each of their previous two meetings. I’m pretty sure the Ducks would be Ok with a 1-3 record against the Buffs this season.

Jermaine Cousinard opened the scoring for the last Pac 12 Championship Game with a layup. On Oregon’s second possession, Cousinard drove to the hoop and drew a foul on Colorado’s Javonne Hadley. Jackson Shelstad hit an early 3 and Oregon led 7-5 with 15:35 left in the first half.

At 14:30 left in the first half, N’Faly Dante picks up his second foul and the Ducks had to lean on Mahamadou Diawara for defensive help in the paint. Dante’s absence allowed Colorado to go on a 12-4 run as the Buffs pulled ahead 17-11 at the halfway point of the first half. Coach Altman decided to risk putting Dante back in the game despite foul trouble.

Colorado’s crowd started to show some energy and the team fed into it as the extended their lead to 21-13 with 7:10 left in the half. With 3:15 left in the half, Dante scored a layup and got the foul to pull Oregon with 26-24. Jermaine Cousinard tied the game with a floater with 2:03 left in the half. A Jadrian Tracey 3 pointer gave the Ducks the lead back with 1:07 left. Shelstad added two free throws to make the score 31-28 with under one minute left in the half and capped the first half off with a drive and a bucket at the buzzer. Oregon 33, Colorado 30.

Oregon got the ball to start the second half and Jadrian Tracey got a bucket to extend Oregon’s lead to 35-30. Colorado’s KJ Simpson tied things up shortly after with a deep 3. N’Faly Dante was given his 3rd personal foul with 17:41 left in the game in what was a questionable call. Dana Altman kept Dante in the game and both teams traded baskets until Oregon’s Cousinard picked up a bucket and a foul to give Oregon a 44-39 lead with 15:56 left in the game.

Colorado put themselves in foul trouble in the second half, giving Oregon the bonus with 11:42 remaining in the game. The night before, Arizona shot a significant number of free throws more than the Ducks. Colorado’s KJ Simpson kept them in the game with a clutch 3 point shot to make the game 50-49 with 10:15 left. Oregon returned Colorado’s favor by putting them in the bonus at the 9:04 mark. Both teams traded baskets and the score was 56-55 Oregon at the media time out with 7:41 left in the game.

With 5:44 left in the game Kario Oquendo picked up his 4th foul and the subsequent Colorado free throws made the score 61-59 Oregon. Luke O’Brien hits a huge 3 pointer at 4:51 to give Colorado the lead back at 62-61. With 3:23 left in the game Jackson Shelstad drew a foul, made the free throws and put Oregon back up 64-62. Colorado also put Oregon in the Double Bonus. Jadrian Tracey athletic move to the hoop built the lead up to 66-62 with 2:42 left in the game.

N’Faly Dante has an emphatic dunk to keep Oregon’s lead at 4 while both teams trade baskets into the final two minutes of the game. Dante tips in a Cousinard miss to pull ahead 70-64. Colorado begins to foul. Cousinard went to the line with 54 seconds left and hit one of two free throws to made 71-64 with 47.7 left. KJ Simpson for Colorado hits two free throws of his own to make it 71-66 and Colorado fouled again. Dante deflected a Colorado pass, tipped it to Shelstad and Shelstad was fouled, hitting 1-2. Colorado missed their next shot and fouled Shelstad on the rebound. His free throws made it 75-66. A late Colorado bucket made the score 75-68 and the Ducks ran out the clock.

N’Faly Dante, despite early foul trouble shot 12-12 from the floor for 25 points and 7 rebounds. At the same time, Dante isn’t even named to the Pac 12 All-Tournament team. Talk about a snub! Jackson Shelstad and Jermaine Cousinard did make the Pac 12 All-Tournament team and chipped in 17 and 14 points respectively. This is not the first time Oregon was a longshot to make the NCAA Tournament and won the Pac 12 to do so. Sadly, it will be the last time Oregon gets to win the Pac 12 Tournament to go to the big dance.

Selection Sunday awaits for the Ducks.