Oregon Ducks Hold Off Baylor Bears With Solid Defensive Effort

AP: Surprises From Preseason CBB Poll
AP: Surprises From Preseason CBB Poll

On Monday night at Matthew Knight Arena the Oregon Ducks met the Baylor Bears. It was the first meeting of Top 25 opponents in the regular season for 2015 and it was a nationally televised game on ESPN2. It was a great opportunity for the nation to see what Dana Altman and the Oregon Ducks area all about. Following the season opener against Jackson State that saw four players score in double figures, including the debut of Freshman Tyler Dorsey with 20, it was time to see of Oregon could pass the test against a big team that knew how to rebound and do it well.

The Baylor Bears defeated Stephen F Austin with six scorers in double figures pulling down 37 rebounds and winning by 42 points blowing out the Lumberjacks. The Ducks would need a solid defensive performance on Monday night. The Baylor Bears would win the opening tip, but it would take almost three minutes for the first team to put in a basket, and it was Oregon.

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Chris Boucher scored the first two points for Oregon. Prince for Baylor would start the game 0 for 5, but Oregon would find themselves with two early ticky tack fouls bringing Dwayne Benjamin, the Ducks 'Sixth' man into the game. The Ducks would rain three pointers on three of their next four possessions with Tyler Dorsey, Casey Benson and Dwayne Benjamin getting points for Oregon. Baylor would hit keep it close with Rico Geathers hitting a three with just over ten minutes left in the first half to take the lead back from the Ducks 13-12.

Oregon would score on four consecutive possessions to take a 20-13 lead before Prince pulled up and hit a three point shot before the 8 minute media timeout. The Ducks would have a six point lead 26-20 with under four minutes to go and play solid defense against the big men of Baylor. The Bears had seven turnovers which led to 11 points for the home team. Oregon would start the second half with the ball with that exact lead, 11 points.

Dwayne Benjamin was a key player in the second half hitting a three and having a monster slam dunk on back to back plays, along with Oregon's Free Throws. The Ducks were hitting 77 percent from the charity stripe midway through the second half. Whenever Baylor would feel like they were chipping away at the lead, Dana Altman saw his team answer.

Even after Elgin Cook traveled giving the ball back to the Bears and allowed them to pull within 7, it was Cook who hit a two pointer putting the lead back to 9. It would be back and forth until the seven minute mark when Dillon Brooks hit two foul shots giving Oregon an 11 point lead. The ensuing possession would end up being Baylor's 14th turnover. Dillon Brooks would foul out of the game with over seven minutes left and Head Coach Dana Altman turned to Dwayne Benjamin once again.

Baylor would turn over the ball again and Oregon would make them pay with a three pointer from Elgin Cook. Chris Boucher would score on the next Ducks possession. Tyler Dorsey would then hit one of two free throws followed by a Baylor three pointer from Al Freeman. The Oregon Ducks had a ten point lead with four and a half minutes to go.

A Tyler Dorsey travel and a Jake Lindsay layin for Baylor put the Bears within three of Oregon at the 2 minute mark. Elgin Cook would miss a long two point shot as Oregon would look to get some momentum and points to finish off Baylor. Eglin Cook would hit a bank shot putting the Ducks up five and the crowd back into the game.

Chris Boucher brought home a slam dunk off a pass from Elgin Cook with one minute to go to put Oregon up 68-62 and an Offensive Foul on Baylor gave the ball back to Oregon with 44 seconds to go. It was a foul shooting game at this point with Dwayne Benjamin hitting two free throws to extend the Oregon Ducks lead. Two shots from Baylor and they were within three points 70-67 with 13 seconds left.

Rico Geathers would force an intentional foul and Chris Boucher would miss two foul shots. Dwayne Benjamin would then be fouled. He would not miss. He put the Ducks up 72-67. Casey Benson would add two more to make it 74-67.

We rode those six guys pretty hard. They were able to finish it. I really liked our activity the first half......(turnovers) were the difference. Thought our effort was good. It's a great place to start. A win against a really good team that is hard to play against

Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman on the Win Against Baylor

In the end it was a solid Defensive effort that saw three blocks, six steals and sixteen turnovers turned into 24 points for the 25th ranked team in the country. Oregon would have five players land in double figures with Elgin Cook and Chris Boucher leading the charge at 15 each, followed by Tyler Dorsey with 12, Dwayne Benjamin with 11 and Dillon Brooks with 10.

Oregon, now 2-0 on the season will host Savannah State on Friday night at 8pm Pacific Time on Pac-12 Networks.

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