PORTLAND, Ore. — Oklahoma freshman guard Trae Young was one-on-one with Oregon freshman forward Troy Brown. Oklahoma led by five with five minutes left. The game was up for grabs.
That’s when Young attacked Brown, burying a shot after a spin move fadeaway. One possession later, he buried a 3-pointer to give Oklahoma a 10-point lead with four minutes and 38 seconds left in the game. After the shot, he jogged back on defense as he replicated Michael Jordan’s iconic shrug.
“We scrimmaged them in the preseason,” Young said. “They do a lot of different things. Based off that, they did a lot of switching, so I was able to take advantage of a big guy on me.”
It was all a part of Young’s dominating performance over Oregon in a 90-80 win for Oklahoma. The Ducks (5-2) played poor defense and turned the ball over all night, allowing Oklahoma to shoot 44 free throws and letting Young score almost half of Oklahoma’s points. He finished with 43.
Oregon and Oklahoma scrimmaged early in the season, where Oregon reportedly won by four.
“Well, in that game, Trae Young didn’t get 43,” head coach Dana Altman said. “He controlled the game and got to the line.”
The Ducks started fast, playing good defense and making 6-of-7 of their first shot to take a 14-8 lead entering the first media timeout. Freshman Troy Brown was in command as he scored eight of Oregon’s first 10 points. He looked confident driving to the basket after he finished two contested layups. Then he hit a 3-pointer, the peak of Oregon’s hot start.
But after the timeout, Oklahoma answered. Led by Young, Oklahoma went on an 18-5 run until the next media timeout four minutes later. Oklahoma was winning the rebounding battle and Oregon was turning the ball over — not a winning formula.. Oregon trailed by eight at halftime.
The Ducks played well to start the second half. They took the lead with a MiKyle McIntosh 3-pointer, which was part of a solid stretch by the graduate transfer. He contributed seven points to Oregon’s run, part of his 11 point, seven rebound night.
But again, Oklahoma had a run of its own. Young exploded, scoring 30 of Oklahoma’s 42 points in the second half.
“We had a lot of bad fouls,” Altman said.
“I’m surprised we played this poorly defensively,” he added. “We’re not committed to it right now, so until we do, we’re going to struggle.”
The Ducks played well offensively, but they committed 17 turnovers. They also did not play well down the stretch. While Young was scoring at will and shrugging, the Ducks fell flat offensively.
After a media timeout with 6:39 left in the second half — and with the game still in the balance — Altman called three specific plays, all of which ended poorly.
One play was for Elijah Brown, who got open but decided to try and draw a foul, only to turn the ball over. The next missed play was a rushed Troy Brown 3-pointer, which he missed, and after that, Payton Pritchard missed on a 3-pointer.
“We took bad shots,” Altman said. “We had a play called on all three of them and didn’t execute them one time. … The game kind of got away from us right there.”
Offensively, there were good moments. Oregon wasn’t aggressive enough to match Oklahoma’s free throws, but it was ultimately the defense that couldn’t get it done.
“I mean, 80 points should be enough to win,” Altman said.
Follow Jack Butler on Twitter @Butler917