ASU basketball travelled to Eugene and saw their comeback fall short against No. 5 Oregon 77-71 dropping their record to 12-5 (3-3 Pac-12).
In a Pac-12 matchup between two top-25 ranked teams, the Sun Devils and Ducks fought hard for the entire 40 minutes and it came down to the final minutes as the Ducks came out on top 77-71.
With just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Ducks had a commanding 10 point lead looking to put the game away for good. The Sun Devils then went on an 11-2 run led by two three-pointers from freshman Taya Hanson to cut the deficit to just one and make the score 67-66 with 2:56 remaining.
Oregon’s star guard, Sabrina Ionescu, responded to the ASU run by scoring six of the team’s final 10 points including a three pointer and three free-throws. She also helped in leading the defense to only allow ASU to score four points in that final 2:56 of play.
Ionescu, a Wooden Award midseason top-25 watch list member, scored a season-high 31 points in the victory. She shot 10-of-20 from the floor, 3-of-6 from three and added an additional eight points from the charity stripe.
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For ASU, they came out of the gates fast and sharp taking the Ducks by surprise and jumping out to an early lead. At one point in the first quarter the Sun Devils held a six-point lead before the Duck’s woke up on the offensive and defense ends of the floor to take the lead and go ahead by four at the end of the quarter.
Oregon never lost the lead once they gained it and was able to extend their lead by 13 points twice in the third quarter, but the Sun Devils never gave up and fought all the way back to be able to trim the deficit to just one point in the fourth.
ASU was led by their star senior Kianna Ibis. Ibis led the team in scoring with 22 points in an efficient 10-of-14 shooting including 2-of-3 from three, and was a problem for Oregon in the paint the entire night.
Oregon played the first half in a 3-2 zone that gave the Sun Devils some problems, but Ibis was a problem for the Ducks in the paint using an array of post moves. She would go to her signature lefty post hook, but she also was using her right hook as well.
Despite allowing Oregon to score 77 points, it was a good game from ASU’s defense. Oregon ranks first in the nation in points per game, scoring an average of 91.1 points per contest. Oregon was limited to only six second chance points and only six bench points the entire game.
Oregon is now 16-1 overall and 5-0 in conference play. Their only loss came back at the beginning of December and they have been able to rattle off nine straight wins in a row.
Their next contest is at home against the University of Arizona on Sunday afternoon. Oregon will look to continue their excellent play and strive for a second straight Pac-12 championship.
For the Sun Devils this is their fifth loss of the season, but they have come against No. 3 Baylor, No. 4 Louisville, No. 5 Oregon, No. 6 Stanford, and a quality Arizona team. Every loss against a ranked team this season has been single digits.
This Sun Devil team can hang with any team in the nation, but they just have to work on closing games if they want to make it deep into the NCAA or even Pac-12 tournaments this season.
The next game for Arizona State is on the road Sunday against No. 10 Oregon State. We will see if they are able to not only keep it close against a quality team in the Beavers, but also have the chance to get an upset and a huge resume boosting win.