No. 25 Oregon enters poll, beats No. 20 Baylor 74-67
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Oregon coach Dana Altman didn't know what was in store for his freshly ranked team when the quality of competition cranked up with No. 20 Baylor in town Monday night.
What he learned was that until the offense clicks, defense will have to be the Ducks' calling card.
Chris Boucher and Elgin Cook both scored 15 points to lead No. 25 Oregon over the Bears 74-67 in a matchup of NCAA Tournament teams from last season.
Oregon (2-0), which entered the Top 25 earlier in the day, held off several Baylor (1-1) rallies with balanced scoring and battled to a 35-all rebounding draw.
''The difference in the game was our creating 18 turnovers for 28 points,'' Altman said. ''Our press hurt them a little bit and we got some hands on some balls. So that was the difference, and we were able to stay even on the boards.''
Dwayne Benjamin had 13 points off the bench for Oregon. Tyler Dorsey added 12 and Dillon Brooks scored 10.
Al Freeman led Baylor with 22 points, and reserve Johnathan Motley had 17.
''I'm disappointed that we didn't play better on the offensive end,'' coach Scott Drew said. ''Credit Oregon's defense. We didn't execute very well and they deserve a lot of credit for that.''
After trailing by 16 early in the second half, Baylor twice got as close as three - the last time on Taurean Prince's 3-pointer with 13 seconds left. But the Ducks sealed the victory with four free throws, though they did miss four of 10 from the line in the final minute.
Baylor was down by 13 with under 6 minutes to play when a 10-0 run, fueled by Freeman's two 3-pointers, brought the Bears within three. King McClure missed a 3 from the corner that could have tied it before Oregon finally found an answer in Cook, who banked in a short jumper to stop the bleeding.
''From about the 6-minute mark to the 3-minute mark, we had some God-awful possessions,'' Altman said. ''We wanted to get some ball movement and we couldn't get guys in the right spot.''
Oregon finished the game shooting 43.6 percent (24 of 55) from the floor, and Baylor was 24 of 61 for 39.3 percent. The Ducks did most of their damage by hitting 18 of 30 attempts from inside the 3-point line.
They were just 6 of 25 (24 percent) beyond the arc.
''We did all right when we got the ball inside their zone and made plays for each other, but we were a little quick with some of the 3s,'' Altman said.
Both teams struggled to find any offensive rhythm early. Baylor needed nearly 4 minutes to score and led only briefly at 6-3.
After making just three of 12 3-pointers to start the game, Oregon finally found its comfort zone from inside the arc on back-to-back jumpers by Brooks and two more from Cook for a 20-13 lead.
The Ducks pushed the margin to 11 points twice with balanced scoring, led by Dorsey's eight points, for a 35-24 halftime lead.
Meanwhile, the Bears, who had 31 assists and only eight turnovers in their season-opening win over Stephen F. Austin, shot just 29 percent and had almost as many turnovers (eight) as field goals (nine) at the break.
Baylor finished the half missing 11 of its last 13 attempts from the field.
FITTING HIM TO A TEE
Oregon's student section, known as the Pit Crew from its days at McArthur Court, showed up in force and sporting white T-shirts with green-and-yellow neckties printed on them to mimic the coach's look. They put a charge in the crowd of 7,718. ''When we ran out of gas at about the 6-minute mark, the students wouldn't let us quit, so that was fun,'' said Altman, who took mild exception to the pocket-protector look on the shirts. ''The students did a great job.''
Baylor: The Bears are looking to match what Oregon achieved last season by making a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time in school history. In the last six years Baylor has reached the Elite Eight twice and the Sweet Sixteen once. It missed the postseason in 2011 and won the NIT in 2013. ... Despite the loss, Baylor extended its streak to 47 games of holding opponents to fewer than 75 points.
Oregon: Scouts from nine NBA teams were in attendance, representing the Nuggets, Mavericks, Thunder, Wizards, Grizzlies, Spurs, Jazz, Timberwolves and Bulls. ... The Ducks and Bears met for the first time. ... Baylor was the first ranked opponent from outside the Pac-12 to play at Matthew Knight Arena since the Ducks moved into their new home in January 2011. The last ranked nonconference team to visit Eugene was No. 9 Missouri in December 2010.
Baylor hosts Jackson State on Friday night.
Oregon hosts Savannah State on Friday night.