No. 1 Baylor leans on Brown, Akinjo, Flagler to beat Oregon
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Kendall Brown and James Akinjo each scored 17 points and No. 1 Baylor defeated Oregon 78-70 Saturday night.
Adam Flagler made five 3-pointers en route to 16 points for the Bears (10-0), who broke a 51-51 tie with 12 straight points in the second half. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua had 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds for Baylor.
“There is pressure and at the end of the day, we have a great group of guys who decided to step forward and take the challenge,” Flagler said. “It was exciting to go out in the second half and execute and get the win.”
De’Vion Harmon scored 18 points, Will Richardson had 16 and Jacob Young added 11 for the Ducks (6-6).
Richardson tied the game at 51 with 10:38 left to play before Brown scored five straight points for the Bears. Akinjo added a 3-pointer before Brown scored four in a row to put Baylor ahead 63-51 with 7:11 left to play.
“Credit to my teammates,” said Brown, who had five dunks on his seven field goals. “They were telling me to get going and looked for me when I am cutting and running. … Adrenaline takes my bounce to another level. When I am up there, I try to jump my highest.”
Baylor faced its first double-digit deficit of the season in the first half before closing within 39-35 at halftime.
“I don’t want to put ourselves in that situation, I’d rather be up by double digits the whole time,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “You are going to be up and down in different situations all year long. That is why we challenge ourselves in nonconference play.
“Oregon is a talented team and even though they have not gotten off to the start they normally do, that is a great coach and a great program. This was a good environment to get the guys used to and get a win and some confidence out of it.”
Baylor shot 50.9% from the field, including 12 for 23 on 3-pointers. Brown made all six of his shots from the field in the second half while scoring 15 points during the final 20 minutes.
“Kendall made plays in transition and credit his teammates for getting him the ball,” Drew said. “The big thing is we got stops in second half and got back in it. In the second half, we played more like we usually play and we were able to get the win.”
Baylor scored the first four points of the second half to tie the game before Oregon went back ahead on a basket from Harmon, who later put the Ducks up 49-46. Matthew Mayer made a 3-pointer to put the Bears ahead 51-49 before Richardson tied the game with a basket.
Oregon, which shot 54% from the field and had a 30-28 rebounding edge, took its largest lead at 34-24 on a 3-pointer by Rivaldo Soares with 4:54 left to play in the first half.
“Our competitive level was good,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “The rebounds against a big, physical team, we were right there, but some timely offensive rebounds by them, and, then again, we just had a stretch there with our turnovers where they got some easy baskets that really flipped the game.”
Baylor: The Bears joined Gonzaga this week as the only programs to be ranked No. 1 in three straight seasons, but Baylor was a unanimous No. 1 for the first time in school history. … The Bears are 14-2 all-time as the top-ranked team in the country and will certainly hold that spot for another week. … Baylor won its 34th straight nonconference game, with Alcorn State and Northwestern State left ahead before the start of Big 12 conference play.
Oregon: The Ducks hosted a No. 1 team for the first time at Matthew Knight Arena, which opened in 2010. Oregon last hosted a top-ranked team on Jan. 6, 2007, when it defeated UCLA 68-66. The last time the Ducks hosted a defending national champion was Feb. 21, 1998, when Arizona beat Oregon 81-66.
Baylor: Host Alcorn State on Monday.
Oregon: Host Pepperdine on Tuesday.
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