With preseason All-American Dillon Brooks on the bench with a foot injury, No. 4 Oregon struggled to find offense against Baylor in Waco, Texas, falling 66-49 and suffering its first loss of the season.
Although Baylor is not ranked in the polls, the Bears were favored to win by 2. So while it shouldn't really be seen as an upset, the win notches Baylor an impressive bullet point on its resume over a team that, if healthy, should be ready to make another big run late into the postseason.
It was clear that the absence of Brooks loomed large for Oregon, which could have desperately used his scoring production to keep pace with Baylor. The good news for Oregon though? Brooks may return to the court within the next week, according to the ESPN telecast, and is targeting a return for the Maui Invitational next Monday.
The Bears, who lost to Oregon last year in Eugene, played with motivation and an attitude out of the gate looking to avenge their loss from last year. While Oregon looked out of sorts, and was held at bay offensively, shooting 32.8 percent from the field and 14.3 percent (3-of-21) from 3-point range.
"We definitely remember that game like it was yesterday," Baylor guard Al Freeman, who scored 8 points in the win over the Ducks, told the Waco Tribune earlier this week.
After serving an NCAA suspension to start the season, Baylor's Johnathan Motley finished with 17 points for the Bears. He lived up to the billing with his long, athletic 6-foot-10 frame that made life difficult for Oregon down low. He displayed his versatility in the first half by stepping out of the paint and finding a rhythm in his mid-range game. The Bears jumped out to a 10-point lead at the half, which they would not relinquish.
Oregon didn't go down without a fight, though. The Ducks responded with a 9-0 run to begin the second half, as the Bears stood on their heels and appeared willing to take the punches. The Ducks found a rhythm on offense, but it was short-lived.
Baylor simply had too much firepower, and Oregon, whose offensive struggles continued in the second half, couldn't figure out a way to slow down Baylor's rising point guard Manu Lecomte. He found ways either by facilitating or by scoring to put the game out of reach and scored a game-high 18 points. The red-hot Bears shot 45.5 percent from the floor, including 6-of-12 from three highlighted by Lecomte's four 3-pointers.