Cougars shoot down Ducks

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It took overcoming three and a half minute drought and eight-point deficit early against the University of Oregon, but the BYU men’s basketball team blew by the Ducks on Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, winning 79-65.

The Cougars halted Oregon’s four-game winning streak and led by as much as 21 in the second half against the team from the Pac-12, relying heavily on three players who contributed double-digit points: Noah Hartsock, Stephen Rogers and Anson Winder.

[media-credit name=” Luke Hansen” align=”alignright” width=”264″][/media-credit]
BYU fans yell and attempt to distract Oregon forward Carlos Emory on Saturday at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Cougars easily beat the Ducks 79-65.
Hartsock had a solid game across the board, including a double-double with a career-high 23 points and a season-high 12 rebounds.

“I think the best thing with Noah right now is that he’s been so consistent that his teammates now are starting to really look for him, and he seems to be our go-to guy,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “He hit three of four plays tonight where he just got an offensive rebound, got his hand on it, tipped it in, got a foul. … He’s playing how you’d hope a senior who’s been in the program for four years would play.”

Rogers, who was 4-for-7 on 3-pointers, scored 16 points, and Winder, who continues to start at point guard, contributed 10 points.

“As the games went on, and through practice, I’ve just been getting more and more comfortable,” Winder said. “And the coaches have a lot of faith in me, so it’s going to work out.”

Rose said his team played really hard and that was a big key to getting a win during the game.

“I think that we had a few guys step up and really play at a really high level for us,” Rose said. “Other guys maybe didn’t have their best game, but we all played really hard together, and that’s a step for us — a step forward.”

Freshman Nate Austin also stepped forward, contributing 18 minutes and scoring nine points, including a deep 3-pointer, and grabbing six rebounds.

“If it’s off the bench or if it’s starting, I’m here for the team,” Austin said. “As long as we get the win, that’s all that matters to me.”

As the team heads deeper into the season, the Cougars are beginning to find their identity. Hartsock said confidence is growing among his teammates as more playing time is committed to.

“I think it’s a lot of people getting more experience,” Hartsock said. “They know that Jimmer [Fredette and] Jackson [Emery are] gone, and you’ve got to find different players who can step up and take big shots. [Winder] and [Austin] did a great job tonight of helping us out; [Rogers] as well.”

Though during the second half a win almost seemed inevitable, Austin said Oregon was still a team to respect.

“They have great shooters, great big guys, great point guards,” Austin said. “[But] our coaches had a great game plan for us, and our players stuck to it. As we trust our coaches and go in there and play hard, give hard effort every play, we can beat anybody.”

Oregon’s Garrett Sim lead the Ducks with 16 points, making half of his four 3-point attempts, and was 6 of 8 on field goal attempts. Sim was joined by three other double-digit Duck scorers: Tony Woods with 13 and Carlos Emory and E.J. Singler with 11 each.

The Cougars now turn their attention to in-state rival Weber State, who holds a 5-1 record this year and has never won a game in the Marriott Center.

“Weber State’s a great team,” Austin said. “We’re aware of them. We have two days to practice for them, then we’re going to go in there [and] play hard. We know that they’re a good team, and we’ve got to come out and play.”

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