On an afternoon where even the easiest of shots wouldn't fall, the Cougars ended their season on a sour note in an 87-68 loss to the Oregon Ducks in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
BYU held the Ducks' starters to just 38 points, but it was the Oregon bench that did most of the damage in the lopsided loss. Elgin Cook led the Ducks in scoring with 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the floor to go along with a team-leading eight rebounds. He was joined in double figures by Joseph Young, who totaled 19 points, and Jason Calliste, who finished with 14 on the strength of 11-of-12 shooting from the free-throw line.
The Cougars shot just 32.8 percent from the field on 20-of-61 shots attempts including 5-of-19 from behind the arc. BYU was led in scoring by Tyler Haws, who put up 19 points as well as four rebounds. Three other Cougars scored in double figures, with Eric Mika and Matt Carlino registering 15 points apiece and Frank Bartley IV chipping in 10 points off the bench.
The starting backcourt
Haws didn't have a good shooting night, making only 7-of-18 shots, but did lead the Cougars in scoring with 19 points. Of those 11 misses plenty were from point-blank range. Carlino finished the game with five assists and no turnovers, but made just 4 of his 16 field goal attempts and only 2-of-7 from distance. Anson Winder scored seven points on 3-of-5 shooting. He wasn't as aggressive as he needed to be on the offensive end. None of the three had great games on the defensive end of the floor as the Oregon guards got into the paint at will.
The starting frontcourt
Eric Mika was hungry and aggressive on the offensive end. He attempted just five shots from the field, but did go to the free-throw line 16 times. On the other end of the floor, Mika got in floor trouble early and wasn't able to do much to help the BYU defense. He did a decent job on the glass and led the Cougars with seven rebounds. Nate Austin finished with two points and five rebounds while picking up four fouls. He hit the backboard hard and was able to keep plenty of possessions alive, but doesn't look to score. That allowed the Ducks to cheat off him and make it more difficult for other Cougars to get clean looks. He was also limited defensively after picking up a couple early fouls.
With Mika and Carlino back in the starting lineup, scoring from the bench was nonexistent with the exception of Bartley. Bartley was very aggressive on offense and finished with 10 points. He did struggle with his shot on the afternoon, making 3-of-10 attempts from the floor. Luke Worthington didn't look to score but managed two rebounds in limited action. Skyler Halford had an off night from the floor, missing all for of his shots, including three from behind the arc. Josh Sharp didn't score while attempted one shot on the night. He did manage to grab three rebounds and hand out three assists.
No matter the defense BYU played, the Ducks had the answer. The Cougars made a big push to cut a 15-point lead down to three midway through the second half. Rose pulled out all the stops to help BYU in that effort, including changing his normal rotation when players got themselves into foul trouble. Oregon weathered the storm and managed to open up another big lead just as quickly as the original one went away. The lack of interior scoring for BYU really hurt the Cougars today. The coaches need to force players like Austin, Worthington and Sharp to look to score periodically to keep the defense honest.
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Oregon was a far superior team on Thursday afternoon and it showed from the get-go. BYU had no answers for the quickness of Young or Jonathan Loyd. The penetration killed the Cougars, giving the Ducks far too many open shots or free-throw opportunities. BYU didn't force Oregon to play from the outside in, even though they made 2-of-13 shots from 3-point range. No matter how much they struggled on the defensive end, it's hard to beat anyone if you can't make open shots and the Cougars couldn't do that on Thursday.