“Sometimes my teammates, they tell me I grab their rebounds,” said Kazemi, a product of Iran. “But when I jump I don't look who gets the ball. I jump to get the ball.
“I apologize if I get their rebound, but I just jump to get it. That's how it works.”
It didn't work at all for the Cowboys, who were well aware of Oregon's aggressiveness on the boards.
“They dominated the boards,” said OSU guard Phil Forte. “Even if we did get a stop, they were getting rebounds on us. And that's deflating when you make them miss and they're there to clean it up and put it back in.”
Said Le'Bryan Nash: “We knew it was one of their strengths. We put it on our board with the scouting report. And they still got to their strength. They were physical, more physical than us. Whoever is the most physical team is going to win the game.”
How much was OSU hurt by turnovers and lack of rebounding?
With 15 1/2 minutes left in the game, OSU was shooting 50 percent from the field, Oregon was shooting 40 percent from the field, yet the Ducks led 46-33.
“Seven minutes or so to go in the game, they had 17 more shots than we did,” Ford said. “And that kind of sums the game up.”
DUCKS WIN 3-POINT BATTLE
OSU made five of 17 3-point shots against Oregon, which isn't awful — 29.4 percent; the Cowboys shot just 31.6 percent for the season coming into the tournament.
But Nash made both of his 3-point shots. Markel Brown and Forte combined to go just 3-of-12. Forte's lone make came with 2:20 left in the game.
Meanwhile, Oregon made five of 12 3-pointers in the first half to help create its 11-point halftime lead.
HAIL TO THE DUCKS
OSU players pulled no punches in their praise of Oregon.
“Oregon made all the hustle plays,” said OSU forward Michael Cobbins. “I think we got caught a little lackadaisical out there, a little passive, and took for granted just hoping they would miss and we would go get the rebound. But they beat us to those.”
Said Nash: “When you just want the game and want to win, you want to do everything you can to help the team win. That's what Oregon did. Every Oregon player played their role, played their game.”