Eugene – The Oregon single-season block record is now owned by Jordan Bell. Bell finished the night with eight blocks and played a crucial role in a 59-56 Duck victory. The win moves Oregon’s record to 12-4 and a conference mark of 2-1.
The game didn’t start out promising for Oregon; before the game even began the video board malfunctioned and the Ducks were forced to do the starting lineup before the usual pump up video. Bell broke the single-season block record early in the game during a huge stop while Arizona State was on a fast break. Bell fell awkwardly and hobbled off the court after the play during a timeout, but it didn’t slow him down, he finished the first half with four blocks.
The Ducks played skeptical defense at times during the game. A lot of lazy slaps at the ball resulted in 13 personal fouls in the first half and gave the Sun Devils 11 free throw attempts compared to Oregon’s six attempts.
Bell continued his streak of games with an exciting dunk after he converted a lob from Ahmaad Rorie into two points and helped Oregon close the gap to 20-19. The alley-oop came after Young hit a three-pointer that started to get the crowd involved.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Jordan Bell! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoDucks?src=hash">#GoDucks</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FlywithUs?src=hash">#FlywithUs</a> <a href="http://t.co/ipyEH7Ez7w">http://t.co/ipyEH7Ez7w</a></p>— Oregon Basketball (@OregonMBB) <a href="https://twitter.com/OregonMBB/status/554046690806599680">January 10, 2015</a></blockquote>
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The Ducks started to focus mentally on defense and it helped Oregon take a 25-23 lead at halftime after Elgin Cook made a layup as time expired. Bell and Brooks went into the locker room with two fouls and Jalil Abdul-Bassit had three.
Arizona State continued to hang around with Oregon during the second half because of the Ducks lack of boxing out. Numerous times Oregon players were standing around while Arizona State players were following their shots and getting second chances at possessions. Fouls continued to hurt Oregon as well, Abdul-Bassit had four, Benson and Brooks both had three with over eight minutes left to play.
The Oregon front court took over in the second half for the Ducks offensively; in the second half Brooks scored seven points and Cook had 10. Every time the Ducks needed a score to keep Oregon in the game, Brooks and Cook drove to the paint and got a basket.
Young hit a clutch three-pointer that gave Oregon a 53-52 lead with over three minutes left. The lead wouldn’t last long as Brooks fouled Shaquielle McKissic and he converted both free throws which gave Arizona State a 55-53 lead. Altman was forced to call a timeout and the following possession the Ducks tied the game up because the front court made another crucial play. Back to back Bell layups gave Oregon the lead and brought the crowd to their feet with under a minute to play.
With less than 12 seconds to play McKissic was at the free throw line again, but this time he missed both free throw and cost Arizona State the game. A pair of Cook free throws should have iced the game, but on a day that started out with the video board not working we were in for a bizarre finish. Arizona State missed a free throw and the ball bounced off of an Oregon player. The referees reviewed the play and decided to stick with the original call. With less than 4 seconds left Arizona State McKissic missed a three-point attempt and the Ducks finished the day with a victory.
Young led the team with 16 points, Cook finished with 14 points and four rebounds, and Rorie led the team with three assists. Oregon will travel to Washington this week and will play the Cougars at 8 p.m. on Thursday. The game can be viewed on the Pac-12 Networks.