ASU basketball suffered another gut-wrenching Pac-12 loss that dropped their conference record to 1-3 after losing to Oregon 76-72.
While the NBA star power was aplenty in Wells Fargo Arena Thursday night, ASU’s firepower was nowhere to be found against the Oregon Ducks.
The night started off for the Sun Devils as many expected it would as the Devils took an early lead after explosive offensive production gave ASU’s biggest crowd since 2010 something to cheer about. Lockdown defense stifled the Ducks main point of attack in the first half, holding them to just 46.9 percent shooting.
However the Ducks refused to go away. Led by Payton Pritchard (18 points, six assists, four rebounds) the Ducks went on a massive 14-2 run. Elijah Brown capped the run when he hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer that tied the game at 41. From that point on, Oregon became a different beast.
Utilizing the sheer size of MiKyle McIntosh (12 points and 13 rebounds), the Ducks were able to pound the glass in the second half and unleash grit and grind game-plan. Kodi Justice (21 points) talked about how Oregon turned the game on its head in the second half.
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“They grinded us up on defense,” Justice said. “We were playing 25 seconds on shot clock, they’d miss a shot and get no boards. I mean that was hard for us to keep trying to compete on the defensive end.”
The Ducks ended with 15 offensive rebounds on the night, nearly doubling ASU’s total. Justice also said that he felt they were playing 45 seconds worth of defense because of the Ducks offensive rebounding. Oregon worked on the inside and found ways to carve up the Sun Devils.
Roman Sorkin was a spark off the bench for the Ducks against the 11th-ranked Devils. He played 13 minutes and proved to be a difference maker in the game shooting 5-of-8 from the field. He hit one three pointer en route to scoring 13 points.
“Three or four seconds they got a shot up, make or miss they’re back on the glass. So it was tough for us tonight,” Justice added.
Head coach Bobby Hurley felt that the blame was his, as he failed to put his players in a position to succeed.
“I just didn’t, you know, maybe manage possessions better with the lead,” Hurley said. “Try and go a little bit longer with a possession and move the ball a little more.”
The Sun Devils mustered up only 13 assists on the night, which is down from their season average. The bench battle was won by Oregon in decisive fashion, outscoring ASU 22-8.
“We didn’t have enough guys playing well, to you know, win the game,” Hurley said. “We have to make each other better. I don’t know if were completely making each other better on offense right now.”
Since their 12-0 start, ASU has gone 1-3 and failed to find the rhythm that propelled them into the national spotlight. The Sun Devils have failed to score more than 80 points in three of four Pac-12 games.
“We gotta get things in gear,” Hurley continued. “We gotta practice well, we gotta keep competing and we gotta drag ourselves out of this.”
Despite moving into the No. 8 spot on the ASU all-time leading scorer’s list, Tra Holder had one of his worst games of the season. Holder had 14 points on 13 shots, only one assist and three rebounds.
The Sun Devils must turn things around if they plan to keep their spot in the AP Top 25 Saturday against the Oregon State Beavers.