After not trailing at all through its first two games, Oregon never led BYU in the Phil Knight Invitational at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon as the Cougars picked up their third win of the season, 81-49.
It was a dominant performance from BYU. The Cougars shot 60% from the field, including 41% from deep while holding the Ducks to just 32% shooting on the night. BYU couldn’t be stopped in the paint, outscoring Oregon 42-28. The bench came up big and scored 33 of BYU’s 81 points. The Cougars also outrebounded Oregon 35-25 and scored 18 points off the Ducks’ 12 turnovers.
Alex Barcello led the team with 25 points on 9 of 11 shooting. Barcello was 4-6 from deep and dished out two assists to go with zero turnovers. Te’Jon Lucas scored 12 points and hit two of three three-point shots. Gavin Baxter added 16 strong minutes starting at the five spot and went 3-4 from the field, collected five rebounds, blocked two shots and added a steal. True freshman Fouss Traore continued to impress with 10 points, shooting 5-6. Traore pulled down six boards, five of which coming on the defensive glass.
As hot as the BYU offense was, the defense was the story of the first half. The Cougars held Oregon to 19% from the field, hitting just five of 26 shots. Baxter had two big blocks on the defensive end and BYU held a 9-to-1 advantage on assists after the first 20 minutes of play. After being tied at six points apiece, the Cougars exploded with a 24-6 run which led to a 22-point edge. BYU took a 37-18 lead into the break. The Ducks’ 18 first-half points were the fewest since they were held to 18 points in the Quarterfinals of the the Pac-12 Tournament in 2019.
BYU’s dominance carried over into half number two. A straight-away three from the top of the key by Lucas stretched the Cougar lead to 24 at 52-28. One of the best sequences of the game came with just over 7:30 to go. Traore blocked 6’11 N’Faly Dante under the rim and finished strong on the other side. ESPN BPI’s win probability for BYU never dropped below 94.4% in the second half.
Oregon will be a Quad 1 win and will serve as a massive resume boost come March. Look for the Cougars to enter the AP Top 25 on Monday barring a monumental collapse this weekend.
Next up, the Cougars return to the Marriott Center on Saturday, Nov. 20 to face Central Methodist. Tip is set for 7 p.m. MT on BYUtv. The Eagles are 4-0 but certainly don’t pose the same threat the Cougars’ first three opponents did.