Rushed Reactions: #7 Oregon 87, #10 BYU 68Posted by Walker Carey on March 20th, 2014
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Three Key Takeaways.
- Oregon’s reserves played an important role. Dana Altman has used his bench very effectively all season and that continued against BYU. Redshirt sophomore forward Elgin Cook, a Milwaukee native, turned in a career-best performance at the Bradley Center. Cook finished the afternoon with 23 points and eight rebounds in just 23 minutes. The Ducks also received a boost off the bench from senior guard Jason Calliste. Calliste entered the afternoon as the team’s most consistent bench player, averaging 12.4 points per game in limited minutes, and that did not change against BYU. Calliste finished with 14 points and four assists in 26 minutes. The senior also displayed his free throw shooting prowess, as he was 11-of-12 from the charity stripe. To advance in March, you normally need good play from your bench to win. Cook and Calliste provided that against BYU and that is a major reason why the Ducks advanced to the round of 32.
- Oregon actually performed well on the defensive end of the court. Oregon’s defense was a concern all season, but it actually equated itself quite well in Thursday’s victory. Part of the reason why the Ducks were able to build a first half lead that was never relinquished was because BYU shot just 28.1 percent from the field over the first 20 minutes. The Cougars ended the afternoon at just 32.8 percent from the field, as the Oregon defense made it difficult for them to establish any sort of offensive rhythm. BYU guard Matt Carlino had a forgettable afternoon. He struggled all game to finish just 4-of-16 from the field. BYU leading scorer Tyler Haws also had difficulties getting on track and finished just 7-of-18 from the field. While it would be inappropriate to say the Oregon defense is “fixed” after just one game, the Ducks’ effort on that side of the court Thursday afternoon certainly gives the team something to build upon as the Tournament continues.
- BYU did nothing to ease the doubts about it deserving an at-large bid. The Cougars earning an at-large bid was one of the selection committee’s most criticized decisions. They finished the season with 11 losses and four of those setbacks (Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Portland, and Pacific) came against fairly inferior competition. Also working against Dave Rose’s squad was the fact that it lost second-leading scorer Kyle Collinsworth to a torn ACL in the WCC Tournament final. Against Oregon on Thursday afternoon, BYU did nothing to ease those doubts, as it trailed nearly the entire game en route to a 19-point loss. The committee makes mistakes every year when it comes to at-large decisions and it appeared that it made one with BYU this year.
Player of the Game. Elgin Cook, Oregon. The reserve forward exploded for a career-best performance. The Milwaukee native celebrated his return to his home city by pouring in 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting and collecting eight rebounds. Cook’s breakout game was even more important considering the fact that starting forward Mike Moser was limited to just 19 minutes due to foul trouble.
- “Kyle [Collinsworth] is a guy you cannot replace. He brings so much to our team.” – BYU guard Tyler Haws, explaining why Collinsworth’s injury was such a blow to the Cougars.
- “I knew he was fired up since the Selection Show. I was expecting this for sure.” – Oregon guard Johnathan Loyd, acknowledging how he expected this type of performance from Elgin Cook.
Sights and Sounds. Despite both schools being located far away from Milwaukee, each had a decent contingent present at the Bradley Center. There were 47 total fouls called in the game and neither fan base was a big fan of that development. The Wisconsin fans, who showed up in droves for the Badgers’ win over American earlier, mostly stayed for this game to see which team they will be matched up with Saturday.
What’s Next? Oregon advances to the round of 32 where it will meet two-seed Wisconsin on Saturday.