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Brooks, Porter lead Oregon over Winthrop

Mar 19, 2007 - 12:40 AM SPOKANE, Washington (Ticker) -- The backcourt combination of Aaron Brooks and Tajuan Porter floored Winthrop.

Brooks scored 14 of his 22 points in the first half and Porter tallied 11 of his 14 in the second half as third-seeded Oregon posted a 75-61 victory over the 11th-seeded Eagles in the second round of the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Region.

The Ducks (28-7) will face seventh-seeded Nevada-Las Vegas - which upset second-seeded Wisconsin - in the regional semifinals at St. Louis on Friday.

Oregon last appeared in the "Sweet 16" in 2002 under coach Ernie Kent.

"We're going to see the arches and it's not the McDonald's arches," Kent said. "I can't be more proud of my team."

The Ducks made 11-of-23 3-pointers while Winthrop struggled from the arc, converting just 8-of-31. The Eagles missed 16 consecutive 3-point attempts from the 12-minute mark of the first half until Chris Gaynor made one with 7:38 left in the game. By then, Oregon had a 59-48 lead.

Brooks made three of his five 3-pointers in the first half when Oregon built a 33-27 advantage.

DeAndre Adams stole the ball from Porter and closed the half with a basket to pull Winthrop within four.

But it was Porter, the smallest player on the court at 5-6, who enabled the Ducks to pull away. The freshman connected on three shots from the arc and a jumper in the lane in the first 4:01 of the second half.

"When Tajuan shoots, he starts shaking," Brooks said. "We knew somewhere along the way he would give us a big push and he did. And we really needed it after halftime."

A dunk by Maarty Leunen with 15:25 left increased the advantage to 48-35.

Oregon led by as many as 19 points down the stretch.

"I had some looks and took them," Porter said. "They were leaning towards covering Aaron after the first half he had and that left me open to take some shots in the second half."

Winthrop (29-5) won its first NCAA Tournament game in school history Friday, beating sixth-seeded Notre Dame, 74-64. But the Eagles could not handle Brooks and Porter, who combined to make 9-of-17 shots from the arc.

Torrell Martin led Winthrop, which had won 19 in a row, with 15 points and 12 rebounds but made just 6-of-18 shots, including 2-of-11 from 3-point range.

"We looked a little rattled out there today," Martin said. "We kept our composure in the Notre Dame game, but we didn't quite keep our cool today."

The Eagles lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament six times in the previous eight years under coach Gregg Marshall before ending the frustration on Friday. Their four regular-season losses this season came against powers North Carolina, Maryland, Wisconsin and Michigan State. Oregon added its name to the list on Sunday.

"When the magic carpet ride comes to an end, it ends rather abruptly," Marshall said. "It's not an easy thing to accept. The hype our school generated this season was unbelievable, but we wanted a little bit more."

Malik Hairston scored 13 points and Leunen finished with 12 for the Ducks.

Hairston and Leunen did a solid defensive job on Winthrop center Craig Bradshaw, who was held to 10 points, four below his season average. Winthrop shot just 39 percent (24-of-61).

"It was frustrating for me out there," Bradshaw said. "It's tough when you only get six shots."

"We're a defensive team," Hairston said. "That's what got us this far."

Oregon is two wins shy of tying the 1944-45 team's school record.

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    WINTHROP 29 32 61
    OREGON 33 42 75 FINAL

    Mar 18 4:50 PM

    NCAA BB (11) WINTHROP 29

    Mar 18 3:39 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 17 roots

    Winthrop vs. OregonMar 18 2:51 PM