I just wanted to come out and play hard. —Oregon forward Elgin Cook
MILWAUKEE — Sometimes coming home is low-key deal. Other times it’s a full-on party.
In the case of Oregon forward Elgin Cook, it was both.
The Milwaukee native came off the bench to lead the Ducks in both scoring (23) and rebounding (eight, tied) in Thursday’s second-round NCAA tournament win over BYU. Afterward in the locker room, though, Cook downplayed his game, saying he had no idea whether he would play well in his hometown.
“No, not at all,” he said. “I just wanted to come out and play hard.”
Done and done. It was Cook’s baseline scoring, including a jarring rebound dunk in the early second half, that moved the Ducks into the next round against Wisconsin.
The loss was the Cougars’ second this year against Oregon. They also fell in overtime to the Ducks in December.
“BYU’s a great team, you knew they were going to make a run, and we knew we just had to continue to hold defense and continue play our game,” Cook said.
At least for one day, he looked like another Elgin: ex-Laker immortal Elgin Baylor. Cook had 10 points in the first half and continued his role as the game progressed, despite BYU’s attempts to box him out. Seven of his points were on free throws.
Cook's previous season-high was 18 against San Francisco in November, but in the last four games he had a total of 15. He scored in double figures seven times this season.
Despite being the team’s leading producer on Thursday, Cook was not one of the players the team brought to the media podium afterward.
“I’m excited to play in front of my hometown and get a win,” he said in the locker room.
BYU's Luke Worthington, also from Milwaukee, went scoreless, collecting two rebounds but also picking up three fouls and a turnover.
Email: email@example.com; Twitter: @therockmonster; Blog: Rockmonster Unplugged