Another milestone win was within reach for Arizona State basketball on Sunday night, but the Sun Devils fell short of a sweep in the Northwest, losing to the Oregon Ducks 68-65. After the dust settled at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, it was clear to ASU fans that this was one of those “woulda, coulda, shoulda” type games.
Arizona State came into the Oregon contest fresh off a 72-62 victory against Oregon State last Thursday. By beating the Ducks, they could maintain their undefeated Pac-12 record and possibly move into the top 25 nationally. Oregon (14-2, 3-0 Pac-12), in the meantime, had just toppled No. 4 Arizona, handing the Wildcats their first loss of the season. Thus, the stakes were high in a game that was entertaining — and at times frustrating — for Sun Devil and Duck fans alike.
The biggest factors in ASU’s defeat proved to be Oregon’s aggressive defensive schemes and strong rebounding — especially during the second half of the game. The Ducks were relentless on the boards, securing repeated offensive rebounds and depriving the Sun Devils of follow-up shots at critical intervals. ASU didn’t help matters by committing eight turnovers in the final nine minutes of the first half. “We competed,” said ASU senior swingman Carrick Felix. “It just came down to the little things. They got the offensive rebounds they needed to get.”
The good news for ASU: freshman point guard Jahii Carson put on another dazzling performance, leading his team in points (20), rebounds (seven) and assists (four). Junior guard Evan Gordon posted an additional 17 points, and Felix contributed 12 points and strong defense on Oregon’s E.J. Singler, who finished with seven points on 1-of-9 shooting.
In the final moments of the game, Arizona State and Oregon traded big shots and turnovers to keep fans on the edge of their seats. Carson buried a long 3-pointer to pull the Sun Devils within 67-65 with 7.1 seconds left. Then, Singler made one of two free throws for Oregon with 5.4 seconds to go. That left ASU one last chance, but Felix’s desperation 3 veered wide left, securing the Ducks’ win.
The Sun Devils now stand at 14-3 and 3-1 in the Pac-12. Upon returning to Tempe, they begin preparations for a major test against rival Arizona at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday