SAN JOSE, Calif. — Dominic Artis anticipated Marcus Smart's pass and took the interception the other way for a layup to set the tone for Oregon.
Despite the seedings and pregame hype surrounding Oklahoma State's star, the Ducks had the better team and the better freshman point guard Thursday.
Artis had 13 points and four steals and helped slow Smart while fellow freshman Damyean Dotson led the way with 17 points to help Oregon beat the No. 5-seeded Cowboys 68-55.
"We wanted to be aggressive on the boards. We wanted to be aggressive defensively, and we wanted to be aggressive offensively," said coach Dana Altman, whose team won its first tournament game in six years. "Our guys did a great job of that."
The selection committee raised some eyebrows when Oregon (27-8) got a 12 seed despite tying for second in the Pac-12, winning the conference tournament and going 21-4 with Artis, who missed nine games with a foot injury. "I never felt like we needed to make a statement," forward E.J. Singler said. "We knew we had a good team."
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford agreed after Oregon made eight 3-pointers.
"We ran into a very hot team; a very hot team," Ford said. "I was impressed with Oregon, really impressed."
Smart entered with the hype of a top NBA prospect but was held to 14 points on 5 of 13 shooting for the Cowboys (24-9).
"I definitely wish I could have done more for my team," said Smart, who hurt his right hand and was set to have tests. "I feel like I let my team down."
Louisville 79, N.C. A&T 48: Russ Smith had 23 points and Peyton Siva eight assists for the top-seeded Cardinals in Lexington, Ky. Louisville (30-5) had a tournament-record 20 steals (Smith's eight were a school record for a tournament game), and the No. 16-seeded Aggies (20-17) committed 27 turnovers.
"Russ and Peyton, they had so many deflections, it was ridiculous," Louisville forward Stephan Van Treese said of the guards.
With Louisville already up big, Smith (nine points) and Siva (four) combined for a 13-0 run that made it 67-37. Said Siva: "We just tried to get after it."
Mich. St. 65, Valparaiso 54: Derrick Nix had 23 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for the No. 3-seeded Spartans in Auburn Hills, Mich. When Nix, 6 feet 9, 270 pounds, made his fourth shot to put Michigan State (26-8) ahead 32-12, he had as many field goals as the No. 14-seeded Crusaders (26-8) as a team.
"It's my last go-around," said Nix, Michigan State's only senior. "I'm not ready to be done yet."
Valparaiso forward Kevin Van Wijk said Wednesday that his team wasn't worried about Nix because it faced similar players in the Horizon League. Said Van Wijk on Thursday: "He had some ups and downs during the season, but he really bounced back."
St. Louis 64, New Mexico St. 44: Dwayne Evans scored 24, one off his career high, on 11 of 16 shooting for the No. 4-seeded Billikens in San Jose, Calif.
St. Louis (28-6), playing three months after the death of coach Rick Majerus, set a school record for wins and held the No. 13-seeded Aggies (24-11) to 28 percent shooting from the field.
"It was like Rick was up on top of the backboard slapping the ball out," Aggies coach Marvin Menzies said.
St. Louis had little trouble with 7-foot-5, 355-pound New Mexico State freshman Sim Bhullar, who patrolled the lane while teammates chased the Billikens around the perimeter. Evans made several uncontested jumpers from just inside the free-throw line while scoring 16 as St. Louis took a 29-14 lead.
"He had his work cut out," Evans said of Bhullar, "because we have a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things."
Memphis 54, St. Mary's 52: Matthew Dellavedova's 3-pointer as time expired sailed long, allowing the No. 6-seeded Tigers to hold on in Auburn Hills, Mich.
"All I know is when you wake up the next morning, it's a W," said Memphis coach Josh Pastner, who earned his first tournament win and the program's first since 2009. "At this time of the year, it's win, baby, win."
The No. 11-seeded Gaels (28-7) trailed by as many as 15. But after Eividas Petrulis banked in a 3 with 3.1 seconds left, the inbounds pass deflected off Joe Jackson of Memphis (31-4). Dellavedova, the Gaels' career scoring leader, couldn't win it, though.
"As soon as 'Delli 'got the ball in the corner, we all thought it was going to go in," St. Mary's forward Brad Waldow said. "We knew it was going to go in, but it just didn't fall. That's it."
Colorado St. 84, Missouri 72: Dorian Green scored 17 of his 26 during the first half for the No. 8-seeded Rams in Lexington, Ky. It was Colorado State's first tournament win since 1989. Last season, Green went scoreless with five turnovers as Colorado State, then a No. 6 seed, lost its opener to Murray State. Down 13 in the first half, the No. 9-seeded Tigers (23-11) cut it to four early in the second. But a 19-6 run sealed it for the Rams (26-8), whose coach, Larry Eustachy, won a tournament game with his fourth team.