It didn’t take long for Dillon Brooks’ absence to be felt by Oregon. Nor did it take long for Baylor to look like one of the Big 12’s best.
The fourth-ranked Ducks fell to the unranked Bears, 66-49, in Waco on Tuesday afternoon to take an early blemish with their All-American junior still sidelined with a foot injury.
Oregon (1-1) was stifled offensively throughout the game shooting 32.8 percent from the field and 14.3 percent from 3-point range as the Ducks made just three of their 21 attempts from beyond the arc.
Certainly, the Bears (2-0) deserve plenty of credit for putting the clamps on Oregon as their zone has confounded plenty of programs over the years with its length and unpredictability. It’s one of the most unique defenses in the sport, and certainly not easy to prepare for, especially for the first time.
Baylor’s performance looks even less dependent on Oregon’s personnel when Johnathan Motley goes for 17 points and seven rebounds, looking like an All-American, and Manu Lecomte adds 18 points and seven assists, looking like the point guard the Bears desperately need this season. Jo Lual-Acuil is asserting himself as a major asset in that zone with seven blocks.
This, without a doubt, was an early statement win for Baylor.
Still, it’s impossible not to wonder how large Brooks’ absence loomed. You remove a 16-point scorer who shot 47 percent overall and 33.8 percent from 3-point range plus who has the size to combat Baylor’s, it’s going to make things more difficult. Tyler Dorsey was just 4 of 14 from the floor while Dylan Ennis went 5 of 13.
This is without question a more important result for Baylor than it is for Oregon. The Bears get credit because they looked so strong, but the Ducks won’t be fully docked given Brooks was unable to suit up.
And the good news for Oregon is it sounds like Brooks will be back in action before too long. Fran Fraschilla, who was in Waco to call the game for ESPN, tweeted he believed Brooks would be ready to go within a week after watching him practice.