No. 12 seed Belmont stunned No. 5 seed Oregon 73-70 in the first round on Saturday, handing the Ducks their earliest NCAA Tournament exit under coach Kelly Graves.
Oregon, making its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance with Graves at the helm, has advanced past the second round every time until Saturday. The Ducks dealt with multiple injuries to starting players this season, leading to an up-and-down season in the Pac-12.
“I think at times our players have acted and performed entitled,” Graves said after the game. “This group hasn’t won anything. We haven’t won a Pac-12 championship. We haven’t won in the NCAA Tournament, with great depth.”
Graves also took responsibility after a 20-12 season and disappointing postseason showing.
“If I had to kind of boil the whole season down into one word, it’s ‘inconsistencies.’ Daily effort, game production, leadership, coaching,” said Graves. “I didn’t do a great job. I was inconsistent, as well. Same with my staff.”
That moment when you WIN one of the best @MarchMadnessWBB games 🅴🆅🅴🆁!!!!!𝐍𝐎𝐓 𝐃𝐎𝐍𝐄 𝐘𝐄𝐓 😤#ItsBruinTime | #Splashville | #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/P1TUiViIPB— Belmont WBasketball (@BelmontWBB) March 20, 2022
That moment when you WIN one of the best @MarchMadnessWBB games 🅴🆅🅴🆁!!!!!𝐍𝐎𝐓 𝐃𝐎𝐍𝐄 𝐘𝐄𝐓 😤#ItsBruinTime | #Splashville | #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/P1TUiViIPB
Oregon shot 37.8 percent from the floor on Saturday, led by Nyara Sabally’s 31 points and 12 rebounds. The Ducks, however, committed 17 turnovers, allowing Belmont an opening in the double-overtime battle.
The Bruins had three starters finish in double-figure scoring. Belmont freshman Tuti Jones had a team-high 22 points to go along with six rebounds.
No. 4 seed Tennessee awaits Belmont in the second round Monday in Knoxville.