Playing away from Matthew Knight Arena hasn’t been one of Oregon’s strengths this season. Following the loss to Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ the Ducks drop to 4-5 on the road. The loss is doubly worse as the Ducks descend to fourth in the conference below both Arizona schools with a conference record of 9-5.
Road games haven’t been a strong suit for this Ducks roster, and for a team that struggles outside of their comfort zone Oregon started the game about as poorly as one could imagine.
The, in Bill Walton’s terms, “clipped” Ducks were unable to let it fly in Tempe, starting the game 1-of-12 and 0-of-5 from beyond the arch before Chandler Lawson ended Oregon’s drought with an and-one bucket under the rim. Sophomore guard Will Richardson did tie the game up at eight a piece with 12:35 remaining in the first half with a three, but ASU was in firm control for much of the game. The Sun Devils extended their lead to double digits with a deep last-second three from the Pac-12’s leader in PPG, Remy Martin closing out the half 34-23.
Sun Devils lead at the half. #GoDucks #AlwaysUs pic.twitter.com/AnH5M9kuRy— Oregon Men's Basketball (@OregonMBB) February 21, 2020
Oregon’s terrible first half is what ultimately led to their demise. Just 2-of-11 from three-point range, the Ducks shot just .182 and a field goal percentage of just .370. Besides themselves, Martin wasn’t Oregon’s biggest headache. Guards Rob Edwards and Alonzo Verge Jr combined for 50 points in the game, hitting 19-of-36 for .527 percent of their field goals.
Payton Pritchard kept the Ducks in the game with back-to-back triples, cutting the lead to within three. The senior guard hit four consecutive three-pointers, but late in the game with four fouls, Pritchard made one of dumbest decisions he’s made all season and unnecessarily reached for the ball, fouling out. Without Pritchard Oregon’s offense just spun their wheels some more until the clock hit zero’s.
Final from Tempe. #GoDucks #AlwaysUs pic.twitter.com/DrFNg9gk5J— Oregon Men's Basketball (@OregonMBB) February 21, 2020
Both Pritchard and Richardson finished with 18 points. Chris Duarte was his usual Pac-12 steals-leading self, but the splint on his finger is definitely hindering him offensively. Oregon is feeling the loss of his offense and the low-post presence of N’Faly Dante during their conference schedule. Hopefully a Dante sighting can happen before the Pac-12 playoffs and tournament time.
Game one of the desert road-trip started in Tempe and it’ll end in Tucson as Oregon heads to the University of Arizona to play the N0. 24 Wildcats in the final matchup. The Wildcats have cracked the top 25 so a win in Tucson will mean that much more when the brackets for March is being set.