BYU took another step in the right direction Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena.
So did freshman Nate Austin.
Noah Hartsock scored 23 points and Stephen Rogers added 16 off the bench, leading the Cougars to an easier-than-it-looks 79-65 win over Oregon.
The victory was significant in a couple of ways.
No. 1, the Cougars routed a team picked as a possible sleeper in the Pac-12, posting a win that could be important when NCAA bids are passed out in March.
No. 2, Austin continues to emerge as a dependable inside player behind Brandon Davies and Hartsock, which is also critical to BYU's long-range plans.
Against Oregon, Austin finished with nine points all in the first half and seven rebounds. His physical presence helped push the Ducks to the perimeter, and they shot only 38.6 percent.
"I'm trying to play hard every game and every practice and help us get better as a team," Austin said. "It's really a team thing. That's what it's all about. ... As long as we get the win, that's all that matters."
It was the second straight noticeable effort for Austin, who contributed 11 points and four rebounds in an 87-52 win over Northern Arizona on Wednesday.
"The last two nights have been terrific for Nate," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "He has played really well in practice. He continues to get better."
Austin fouled out in 18 minutes against Oregon, although it didn't bother his coach.
"He fouls a little too much," Rose said, "but it's way easier to slow a guy down than to speed him up. And this guy has a lot of energy. ... He's really helped us."
While improving its record to 6-2, BYU led by as many as 14 points in the first half and 21 in the second.
The Cougars started slowly, however. Oregon opened a 10-2 lead in the first three minutes before the Cougars converted six of seven possessions.
A four-point play by Rogers capped a 14-1 run and gave BYU a 16-11 lead.
Moments later, the Cougars started a 16-3 run by scoring nine points in 43 seconds.
After Charles Abouo buried a 3-pointer, Brock Zylstra and Hartsock went to the basket and converted 3-point plays to make it 48-33.
BYU eventually took a 38-31 lead into the second half, which it dominated.
"I'm pleased that our guys played really hard all of them played really hard and that was the key for us," Rose said.
"We had a few guys step up and play at a really high level, and we had other guys who didn't have their best game. But we all played really hard together and that's a step forward for us."
For Oregon, which had a four-game winning streak snapped, Garrett Sim scored 16 points. But the Ducks committed 15 turnovers and allowed BYU to grab 15 offensive rebounds, which translated into 19 second-chance points.
"Those are areas that we have struggled with all year, and we did again today," said Oregon coach Dana Altman.
Said Rose: "This is a really good win for us. That's a very talented team ... that can really score the ball and I thought defensively we did a nice job on them. But I really liked how we attacked [them] offensively."
R Noah Hartsock scores 23 points and Stephen Rogers adds 16 as BYU rolls to a convincing 79-65 win over Oregon.
• The Cougars use first-half runs of 14-1 and 16-3 to wipe out an early eight-point deficit at EnergySolutions Arena.