Oregon was able to withstand a sluggish first half to then hold off Arizona State in the second half and won 68-65. The Ducks improved to 14-2 on the year and 3-0 in conference play and sit in a three-way tie for first in the Pac-12 with Washington and UCLA. Carlos Emory led Oregon with 14 points and eight rebounds in his third straight start since coming off the bench.
Tony Woods goes up for a post move on an ASU defender.
“Well we were very fortunate on a night when nothing seemed to click,” said Oregon head coach Dana Altman. “Not sure if it was focus or intensity...we found a way to win. In a 31-game schedule you are going to have a couple of those...have to find a way to win. Very pleased we stepped up and made some free throws.”
Oregon's youth was once again put to the test for the second straight game as Oregon had to come from behind and then hold on for the win.
With 1:44 left to play in the game Woods threw down a dunk to give the Ducks a 61-60 lead. After a missed ASU shot the Ducks were forced to put the game on ice via the free throw line. Arsalan Kazemi would make two free throws with 58 seconds remaining to push Oregon’s lead to three 63-60.
ASU’s freshman sensation Jahii Carson wouldn’t let ASU go down without a fight however. Carson raced up court after the made free throws for an easy layup to bring the Sun Devils within one with 39 seconds left.
ASU head coach Herb Sendek decided to play defense than immediately foul Oregon and hope they'd miss a free throw. The strategy paid off when Artis would go for a shot too early, but the freshman found Woods open and he was fouled on a shot. Woods made both his clutch free throws and Oregon’s lead was back to three at 65-62 with just 25 seconds remaining.
After a missed three by ASU sophomore Jonathan Gilling Emory grabbed his eighth rebound and was fouled. After walking the length of the court Emory would knock both free throws and Oregon led 67-62 with just 13 seconds left.
Once again Carson would be lethal and hit a three from deep within the woods and made it a two-point game at 67-65 with seven seconds left. Senior E.J. Singler came to the line after being fouled with Oregon leading 67-65. The 81-percent free throw shooter made just one of two free throws and gave ASU life dow 68-65.
Dominic Artis converts a steal and layup over Jahii Carson.
Carson would miss a potential game tying three and time expired.
Oregon’s win came in ugly fashion as the Ducks shot just 40.7-percent from the field on 25-of-59. Oregon did however shoot better from the outside where Oregon has struggled all year. The Ducks finished Sunday shooting 6-of-11 from three for 54-percent. Oregon also made 14-of-15 from the line.
“6-of-11 from three, I think we are taking better threes” said Altman of Oregon’s improve shooting. “Two of those were desperation from three. I thought we went 6-9 on good threes. I like our balance...”
After leading for most of the game the Sun Devils took their first lead in the second half on an Evan Gordan jumper with 7:08 left to make it 54-53. Gordon would hit another jumper to push ASU’s lead to 56-53.
Trailing 56-55 with just 4:54 left in the game Dotson hit a fadeaway jumper to give Oregon the 57-56 lead. The Sun Devils would then take their final lead of the night when senior Carrick Felix hit a three straight on to make it 60-59 with just 2:09 left.
The Ducks started the evening making their first three shots in the first half but then went into a deep freeze hitting just four of their next 15 and trailed ASU 19-11 with 11:30 to play in the first half. Altman was forced to call a timeout to get a lineup change onto the court and the Ducks pulled away with a 21-9 run.
The theme of Oregon’s first half run and overall theme of the game was Oregon’s ability to force ASU turnovers and score off them. The Ducks forced ASU into 12 turnovers but scored 21 points off them. On the flipside Oregon only committed 10 turnovers and ASU converted those into 14 points.
Carson led ASU with a game-high 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Carson also had four assists in 40 minutes of play. Evan Gordon added 17 points and Carrick Felix chipped in 12.
Oregon will play at USC on Thursday with an 8 pm PST tip. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.