Milwaukee • To the illustrious names of Chaz Williams, Jason Calliste, Malcolm Brooks, Evan Payne and Bobby Sharp, add Elgin Cook.
Cook, Oregon’s sophomore forward from Milwaukee by way of Northwest Florida State, scored a career-high 23 points against BYU on Thursday afternoon in the Ducks’ easy 87-68 win over the Cougars.
Cook entered the game with a 6.3 scoring average and had reached double figures in scoring just once in his last 23 games, but he made a ton of easy baskets at the Bradley Center and became the sixth player to record a career-high against the Cougars this season.
“Story of our season, in a way,” BYU’s Matt Carlino said. “Some dudes that we didn’t expect to go off tonight really had some of their best games. When regular dudes are consistent, and guys you don’t expect to kill you do that, it makes a huge difference.”
The Cougars finished 23-12 and in six of those games, they made a memory for a role player, or a player on the rise.
It started back in December when Williams went for 32 in a 105-96 UMass win. Oregon’s Calliste had a career-high 31 in the first meeting on Dec. 21 (he had 14 on Thursday, right around his average) and Payne and Brooks both had career-highs in BYU’s WCC-opening losses at LMU and Pepperdine, respectively.
BYU fans will never forget Sharp’s 8 of 13 performance from the 3-point line en route to a career-high 27 in that 114-110 triple-overtime loss on Jan. 23.
“Oregon is a long way from Milwaukee, so I was definitely excited to come and play in front of my hometown,” Cook said.
Said Calliste, who knows something about torching the Cougars: “He was our X-Factor and pretty much is why we won the game.”
Cook made the biggest play of the game, too, although point guard Johnathan Loyd has to get some credit for setting not only that play up, but many others, with his ability to penetrate against BYU’s zone defense.
After BYU cut a 14-point first-half deficit to three, 56-53, with 12 minutes remaining, the Ducks ended the Cougars’ run out of a timeout when Loyd found Cook under the basket for an easy layup. Matt Carlino fouled Cook on the play, and he made one of his seven free throws.
Eric Mika threw a bad pass to Josh Sharp for a turnover, and Joseph Young scored two of his 19 points on the other end. The Ducks were back in control.
“Elgin Cook really gave us a great inside presence,” said Oregon’s Mike Moser, the Ducks’ second-leading scorer (13.7 ppg.) who got in foul trouble and had just seven points. “He made some and-ones, got some offensive rebounds [four] and putbacks. He really played his heart out today.”
As far as BYU is concerned, he should get in line.
A closer look
The past five games for Oregon’s Elgin Cook:
Opponent Pts Reb
Arizona State 4 3
Arizona 3 3
Oregon State 6 3
UCLA 2 5
BYU 23 8