Fifteen minutes into No. 8 Oregon’s Round of 64 matchup with No 9. Oklahoma State in the West Regional on Friday, Joseph Young had yet to record a field goal. He was 0-for-3 from the field with two turnovers and his Ducks trailed by eight, 36-28.
What happened next was one of the best individual efforts of the NCAA tournament’s opening round. Young scored 23 of Oregon’s next 26 points on 8-for-9 shooting over nine minutes spanning both halves. In that time, the Ducks constructed a 13-point turnaround to take a 54-49 lead with 15:35 to play. He concluded his run with an exclamation point of a dunk.
Although Young would not make another shot from the field the rest of the way, he showed the type of game-changing spark that led to his being named the Pac-12 player of the year. Even when he wasn’t scoring from the floor, he iced the game at the free throw line and sparked the Ducks’ offense that needed to keep pace with an Oklahoma State team that shot 45 percent from the floor and drained 10 three-pointers.
The Cowboys had a 62-59 lead with 10:28 remaining but Oregon responded with an 11-0 run, capped by a Dwayne Benjamin dunk, for a 70-62 lead with 6:30 left. Oklahoma State rallied again, drawing within one at 70-69 on a Tavarius Shine three-pointer with 4:08 to go, but Dillon Brooks immediately answered with a three of his own to restore a four-point advantage and the Cowboys never got any closer.
Young led all scorers with 27 points (8-for-15 overall, 3-for-6 from deep), four rebounds and four assists. Elgin Cook had 18 points and Dillon Brooks added 17 for the Ducks, who shoot 54.7% overall.