KANSAS CITY - Oregon sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey has moved beyond simply being hot this postseason and has landed in some other state of lucid being that many athletes never experience.
Dorsey scored 27 points Saturday night during the Ducks' 74-60 win over Kansas in the Midwest Regional finals while making 9 of 13 shots, including 6 of 10 from three-point range. Two of his 3-point shots at the Sprint Center won't soon be forgotten by Kansas' players or fans.
The latter came shortly after Kansas had decreased its deficit to 66-60 with just over two minutes remaining. The Jayhawks' defense cranked up the heat and forced Dorsey to throw up a desperation shot as the shot clock moved to zero.
Somehow, No. 1 Kansas (31-5) failed to get the defensive rebound and UO forward Jordan Bell ended up with the ball.
"We was running a play that was supposed to go down the gut to Jordan and I wasn't playing attention to the shot clock," Dorsey said. "So, it was my fault and when I was looking at it and I just threw up a desperation shot and I guess they didn't box out and Jordan got a big rebound."
Eventually it made its way back into the hands of Dorsey, who stuck a three to give the No. 3 Ducks (33-5) a 69-60 lead with 1:49 remaining.
"We caught a break there and Jordan got the rebound and we got to set up another play and TD hit a clutch shot to put us up 9," UO forward Dillon Brooks said.
That was just about that for the Jayhawks and Dorsey knew it. As he ran back down the court, Dorsey put one finger to his lips as if to tell the mostly ultra pro-Kansas crowd of 18,643 that had been so loud during that possession to "shush."
“I sent messages throughout the game," Dorsey said. 'That was a big shot and I always have something to do after I make a big shot.”
Dorsey has made big shot after big shot in this tournament after lighting up the Pac-12 Tournament. In seven games he is averaging 23.5 points on Dorsey during the postseason is averaging 23 points per game and is shooting 62.3 percent shooting, including 57.8 percent from three-point range.
But Saturday's was his best performance of the postseason.
While Bell destroyed the Kansas offense with 13 rebounds and eight blocked shots, Dorsey did most of the major damage at the other end. The Jayhawks had no answer for him.
"Tyler, I mean, his -- the way he stepped up in the tournament was unbelievable," UO coach Dana Altman said. "He is playing with tremendous confidence, not only making plays for himself but his teammates and defensively he was solid."
No moment displayed how hot Dorsey is than at the end of the first half.
First he nailed a three-pointer that bounced high off the rim, then off the backboard and down into the basket. On the Ducks' next possession, Dorsey ran down the game clock then launched a deep three that went off the backboard and in at the halftime buzzer to give the Ducks a 44-33 lead.
When you're hot you're hot.
Kansas coach Bill Self said that sequence truly hurt Kansas.
"We're down five and hadn't played very well in the first half with a minute 50 left and they bang in those two -- well, they banged in the two threes in the last 45 seconds that made a close game, an 11-point game and certainly put a lot of game pressure on us," he said.
As for Dorsey's clutch three near the end of the game, Self said it was another example of the Ducks making shots despite good Kansas defense.
"The other thing they did a great job of was how many times did they make shots at the end of the clock that were pretty well defended," Self said.
Most of that came from Dorsey, who this month has gone from inconsistent mystery to Oregon legend.