LOUISVILLE, KY. – It’s not always pretty — or easy — but the Virginia Cavaliers are moving closer to changing the narrative over their NCAA tournament history.
The No. 1 seed in the South Region survived another grind-it-out game to keep its Final Four bid alive with a 53-49 win over Oregon at KFC Yum! Center.
Virginia became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16th seed last season, and then had a scare against Gardner-Webb in the first round of this tournament. But the Cavaliers are now one win from reaching the Final Four.
The game was predictably low-scoring with two defensive-minded teams. Virginia leads Division I in scoring defense, allowing only 55 points per game. The Ducks had held nine of their past 10 opponents to fewer than 62 points.
Scoring points was a struggle. Virginia shot only 35.7 percent from the field; Oregon was at 37.8 percent.
“That was a hard-fought game, a knuckle-buster or whatever you want to call it,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “We had to fight. We know we can play more efficient and better in some ways, but the defense carried us.”
Ty Jerome scored 13 points and put Virginia ahead for good by sinking a tiebreaking three-pointer with 3:34 left. Oregon took a 45-42 lead on a Louis King three-pointer with 5:43 left, but the Ducks didn’t make another basket.