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Ducks attack from perimeter to beat Eagles

The Baltimore Sun

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Any hopes of tiny Winthrop making a Cinderella run through the NCAA tournament ended yesterday afternoon.

Oregon blew past the underdog Eagles with a barrage of jump shots and three-pointers, winning a Midwest Regional second-round game, 75-61.

Guard Aaron Brooks led the Ducks with 22 points and his backcourt partner Tajuan Porter added 14. Between them, they made nine of 17 from three-point range.

"We're a guard-oriented team," Porter said. "We know when to take our threes."

The third-seeded Ducks now travel to St. Louis to face seventh-seeded Nevada-Las Vegas in the Sweet 16.

"I can't be more happy," coach Ernie Kent said of Oregon's first appearance in the round of 16 since 2002. "We're going to see the arches - and not the McDonald's arches."

The secret to the Ducks' success has not been complicated this season: When shots fall from outside, they win.

"We ran into a very hot team," Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall said. "Especially two hot guards who played very well and shot it from deep."

Oregon (28-7) began to take control in the final minutes of the first half, going on a 10-2 run fueled by three-pointers from Brooks and Bryce Taylor.

The Ducks led 33-29 at halftime.

The hot streak continued into the start of the second half, thanks to the smallest man on the court.

Porter, who is listed at 5-foot-6 but might be shorter, came out firing from long range, making one jumper after another.

When the dust settled, Oregon led by 11 points.

Meanwhile, Winthrop (29-5) continued to struggle against Oregon's scrambling, switching defense.

A frenzy of reaching, probing Ducks greeted every Winthrop pass near the basket. Even the Eagles' deep shots were contested, if not rushed against an expiring shot clock.

"We just looked a little rattled," Torrell Martin said.

Winthrop's catalyst scored 15 points and had a career-high 12 rebounds - but missed 12 of 18 shots. Martin, who scored 20 points when the Eagles beat Notre Dame on Friday, made just 2-of-11 three-pointers.

Starting from the 12-minute mark of the first half, Winthrop missed 16 consecutive three-pointers until Chris Gaynor made one with 7:37 left in the game.

Winthrop's Craig Bradshaw, who had 24 points on 10-for-16 shooting Friday, had just one shot in the game's first 23 minutes. He finished with 10 points and seven rebounds in his final collegiate game.

While Winthrop was missing all those three-point tries, the 6-foot-10 dynamo from New Zealand turned to his guards during a break in the action and twice implored to them, "Go inside!" But there, swarms of Ducks hounded Bradshaw.

Smaller Maarty Leunen was on his hip. Malik Hairston, who scored 13 points, continually raced over to meet Bradshaw's next move.

Taylor doubled-teamed him from outside. Even the 6-foot Brooks took some turns fronting the NBA prospect who tormented the Fighting Irish.

All the varying looks and defenders eliminated the Eagles' usual passing lanes into Bradshaw.

"It was frustrating for me," Bradshaw said in a voice so low it was hard to hear his Kiwi accent.

Kent said it was the fifth new defense in the last eight games for his Ducks, who are more known for their flashy running and lethal shooting. He called the execution of the defensive game plan "exceptional."

Hairston said: "Basketball people understand what's gotten us this far. We should be known as a defensive team, that's what's gotten us this far. If no one else recognizes it, we do."

Shooting 39 percent from the field, Winthrop could not find a way to come back.

This is the first time since 1995 that no double-digit seeds have advanced to the Sweet 16.

"When the magic carpet comes to an end," Marshall said, "it ends rather abruptly."

David Wharton writes for the Los Angeles Times.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

WINTHROP-P.Williams 3-6 1-2 8, Bradshaw 3-6 3-4 10, Gaynor 5-9 0-0 12, Jenkins 3-10 0-0 7, Martin 6-18 1-2 15, Harris 0-0 0-0 0, Adams 1-3 0-0 2, McCullough 3-9 0-0 7. Totals 24-61 5-8 61. OREGON-Leunen 5-7 2-2 12, Brooks 8-15 1-1 22, Hairston 4-11 4-4 13, Taylor 3-9 1-2 8, Porter 5-11 0-0 14, Oguchi 0-0 0-0 0, Zahn 0-1 0-0 0, Catron 2-2 2-3 6. Totals 27-56 10-12 75. Halftime-Oregon, 33-29. 3-point goals-Winthrop 8-31 (Gaynor 2-5, Martin 2-11, Bradshaw 1-3, P.Williams 1-3, McCullough 1-4, Jenkins 1-5), Oregon 11-23 (Brooks 5-9, Porter 4-8, Hairston 1-3, Taylor 1-3). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Winthrop 38 (Martin 12), Oregon 31 (Hairston, Porter 6). Assists-Winthrop 13 (Adams 4), Oregon 8 (Catron 3). Total fouls-Winthrop 14, Oregon 13. A-NA.

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