OMAHA, Neb. — Joseph Young and Oregon shined just a little bit brighter than Oklahoma State.
Young scored 27 points, Elgin Cook added 18 and the eighth-seeded Ducks beat the Cowboys 79-73 in the NCAA Tournament on Friday night.
Dillon Brooks had 17 points for the Ducks (26-9), and Dana Altman got the win in his return to Omaha and the same building where he once coached Creighton. Next up for Oregon is the winner of top-seeded Wisconsin and Coastal Carolina.
Le’Bryan Nash had 18 points before fouling out in his final game for ninth-seeded Oklahoma State (18-14). Anthony Hickey added 17 points, and Phil Forte and Tavarius Shine finished with 12 each.
The Cowboys dropped seven of their last eight games of the season.
In a “battle of the highlighters” between the Ducks in their neon yellow and the Cowboys in their blazing orange, nobody was quite as flashy as Young. The Pac-12 player of the year was 8 of 15 from the floor, hit three long 3-pointers and was perfect from the foul line.
The Cowboys were doing a good job of keeping him in check most of the first half, denying him the ball and then clamping down with double teams when he finally did.
When they loosened up, Young got on a roll.
He followed three straight misses by draining a 3-pointer with 4:08 remaining, and then hit another one from well beyond the arc. Young added two free throws, another 3-pointer, an 18-foot jumper and then was fouled with 2.2 seconds left, converting both of those foul shots.
Suddenly, the high-scoring senior guard had gone on a personal 15-3 run, digging the Ducks out of a 36-28 hole and giving them a 43-39 advantage at the break.
Young’s biggest highlight may have come early in the second half. The 6-foot-2 guard raced ahead in transition, gathered in a pass and threw down a dunk over Hickey before crashing to the floor — no doubt impressing his father, Michael, a member of Houston’s Phi Slama Jama.
Oklahoma State responded with a spurt of its own, regaining the lead on Hickey’s 3-pointer midway through the second half. But the Ducks still had another run in them, this time with everybody but Young getting into the act. By the time Dwayne Benjamin stripped Nash and coasted in for a dunk, the 11-0 spurt had given the Pac-12 runner-ups a 70-62 lead with 6:40 left.
The Cowboys trimmed their deficit to 70-69 a few minutes later, but Brooks added another 3-pointer, Jordan Bell added a dunk and the Ducks put the game away from the foul line.