Final Score: Oregon 79 Boise St. 71
Oregon advanced to next week's best of three CBI Tournament Championship series with a 79-71 win over Boise St. tonight at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene. The Ducks will face Creighton, where their Coach Dana Altman was the head man before coming to Oregon this season.
Oregon took the lead for good just over 6 minutes into the game on a pair of Joevan Catron free throws, going up 14-13. The Ducks took a 38-27 halftime lead on Jay R Strowbridge's buzzer beating put back, and controlled the game in the second half, leading the Broncos by as many as 20 points on a couple of occasions.
Boise St. made a late charge, but got no closer than 7 points, trailing 69-62 three minutes from the end after a Robert Arnold three pointer, but good free throw shooting allowed Oregon to close out the win.
Oregon used good overall shooting in all phases of the game to defeat Boise St., who finished the season 22-13. The Ducks hit 71% of their free throws, 50 % of their shots from the field, including 48 % on three pointers, making 12 of 25, after hitting 8 of 16 in the first half.
Balance was also a factor, as Oregon overcame 24 points by Arnold, and 16 more by Tre Nichols off the Boise St. bench.
Catron had a huge game for the Ducks, with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. E.J. Singler added 18 points, including 4 of 7 three pointers, and Garrett Sim had 11 more points. Five different Ducks dropped in three pointers.
Oregon (19-17) will face Creighton (22-14) Monday in Omaha, at 5 PM PDT, and again Wednesday, back in Eugene, at 7 PM PDT. Unless one of the teams sweeps those games, they will meet a third time on Friday, in the rubber game of the best of three series, which would also be in Matthew Knight Arena. The Bluejays, who finished tied for fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference, defeated the University of Central Florida Knights (21-12) 82-64 tonight, as Gregory Echenique scored a season high 19 points to lead five Creighton players in double figures.
Oregon could become the second Pac-10 team in three years to claim a CBI Championship, joining Oregon St., who won the Tournament in 2009.