The Oregon Ducks, fresh off a 90-56 thumping against the Arizona Wildcats, were looking to leave the desert with a win as they took on the Arizona State Devils. It would take overtime to decide things after a sloppy finish to regulation for the Ducks, but Oregon was able to hang on for a 68-67 win over the Sun Devils.
A go-ahead jumper by Joseph Young with 25 seconds remaining gave the Ducks the lead, and some tough defense on Arizona State's final possession forced a bad shot, allowing the Ducks to walk out with the win. Young had a relatively quiet night from the field with just four field goals.
Elgin Cook had a huge night, leading the Ducks with 23 points and six rebounds. Joseph Young also hit double figures with 14 points, including hitting all six of his free throws on the night.
For Arizona State, Shaq McKissic led the way with 24 points and five rebounds, including the game-tying 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining in regulation.
Early on, Dana Altman opted to go with "size" on the court, putting just one guard into the game. Something tells me this had to do with Oregon getting dominated in the paint on Wednesday night against Arizona during their 90-56 loss. Of course, when Oregon puts their "big men" on the court, it's a loose term. Aside from Michael Chandler who is 6-foot-10, the biggest guy on the court for Oregon was Dwayne Benjamin at 6-foot-7.
Can't recall UO going with 1 guard and 4 bigs all year like this current lineup of Young, Brooks, Cook, Benjamin, Chandler. Big as they get— Steve Mims (@SteveMims_RG) January 31, 2015
After Jordan Bell drew his second foul just under midway through the first half, Roman Sorkin checked into the game and proceeded to drain a wide open 3-pointer. The Sun Devils went on a bit of a cold streak, missing five of six shots as Oregon slowly began to build a lead. A 3-pointer from Dwayne Benjamin gave the Ducks a 22-14 lead at the under-8 media timeout.
After a thunderous alley-oop from Ahmaad Rorie to Elgin Cook along with Joseph Young's first points of the night, the Ducks had built a 10-point lead late in the first half.
Oregon also found some success in the paint during the first half with their bigger lineup on the floor.
24 of Oregon's 30 points have come in the paint so far. Ducks lead 32-22 with 2 minutes left in the half.— Emerald Sports (@ODEsports) January 31, 2015
Arizona State finally found some life on offense, going on a 9-4 run to cut into Oregon's lead before halftime. After another thunderous dunk from Elgin Cook followed by a jumper from Tra Holder to end the half, the Ducks took a 34-29 lead into the break. Elgin Cook led Oregon with 10 points while the Ducks shot 50 percent from the field. A big reason why Oregon led at the half is scoring off of turnovers. In the first half, Oregon had 15 points off turnovers while the Sun Devils had none. The Ducks also controlled the ball well with just three turnovers in the first half.
The Sun Devils came out hot (no pun intended) to start the second half, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to cut Oregon's lead down to just one point as part of a 13-4 run going back to the first half.
Shaq McKissic came up big for Arizona State early in the second half, hitting a pair of 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give the Sun Devils their first lead since leading 9-8 six minutes into the game. All of a sudden, Arizona State couldn't miss from deep.
Hitting four three pointers in the first five minutes of the half is a good way to get back into the game. I think.— Tyson Alger (@tysonalger) January 31, 2015
While Arizona State continued to find open looks for the perimeter, their hot shooting cooled off enough for Oregon to reclaim the lead early in the second half, but the Sun Devils would hang with the Ducks enough to keep it a one possession game until they took back the lead with just under seven minutes to play.
Jordan Bell, who sat early due to foul trouble, delivered a huge dunk for the Ducks as he posterized Eric Jacobson. You might see this on SportsCenter tonight.
The game continued to go back and forth as a jump shot by Tra Holder but the Sun Devils back in the lead with 3:41 to play, forcing Dana Altman to call a timeout. Anytime Oregon started to show signs of pulling away, Arizona State was able to answer right back.
Elgin Cook, known for his physical presence in the paint, provided the Ducks with an unexpected contribution when he drained a go-ahead 3-pointer to give Oregon a 58-56 lead with three minutes left to play. The shot was just Cook's second made 3-pointer of the season. Coming into today, Cook had just three career 3-pointers, so I think the Sun Devils are off the hook for leaving him open on the perimeter.
Trailing by one, the Sun Devils forced a shot clock violation against the Ducks as Joseph Young was just left to heave up a desperation 3-point attempt as the shot clock ran out, giving Arizona State the ball back with a chance to take the lead. With 31.4 seconds left, Elgin Cook fought for a loose ball with Bo Barnes, prompting a jump ball call from the referees. Arizona State would be awarded possession and could hold for the final shot.
McKissic took the inbound pass and forced up a bad shot attempt, missing everything. Jordan Bell came away with the rebound and hit both free throws to give Oregon a 60-57 lead with 25 seconds to play.
On Arizona State's ensuing possession, Elgin Cook tripped, leaving Jonathan Gilling wide open for a 3-pointer to tie the game, but the shot would fall off the mark. Ahmaad Rorie missed the free-throw, giving Arizona State one last chance to tie the game. Instead of fouling, the Ducks allowed Shaq McKissic to shoot a virtually uncontested 3-pointer, tying the game with one second left on the clock to send it into overtime.
Takeaways from last seconds of UO-ASU. 1, ALWAYS MAKE YOUR FREE THROWS. 2, Up 3 in final seconds, you foul so that doesn't happen. #goducks— Ben Schorzman (@benschoz_RG) January 31, 2015
Oregon would hit two sets of free throws to take a 66-62 lead with 1:45 left in the overtime period as the Curtain of Distraction proved to become ineffective on the Ducks.
Arizona State, much like they had all night to get to this point, answered right back with another 3-pointer, this time from Jonathan Grilling. A blocked shot from McKissic gave the Sun Devils the ball back with 52 seconds remaining and a chance to take the lead.
McKissic followed up his block with a drive to the rim to give Arizona State the one-point lead. Joseph Young answered right back with a jumper to put the Ducks back on top.
Arizona State struggled to materialize a good look on their last possession with Bo Barnes missing a deep 3-pointer as the Ducks escaped the desert with a nail-biting 68-67 win. It wasn't pretty, but with this team, a win is a win.