EUGENE, OREGON - The Oregon Ducks (5-4, 0-1) lost their first game of PAC-12 play against the Arizona State Sun Devils (3-6, 1-1) at Matt Knight Arena, 69 to 67.
It was good to see N’faly Dante earn the start, though the big man was limited to 16 minutes. Jacob Young also cracked the starting five due to a lower leg injury to Eric Williams Jr and provided a much need spark, though it was bench players Franck Kepnang and Rivaldo Soares who impressed the most in the Oregon loss with 17 and 11 points, respectively.
After scoring just 29 points in total against the Washington State Cougars in their previous game, Arizona State managed to put 30 points up in the first half against the Duck defense. Sophomore guard DJ Horne finished the contest with a game-high 23 points; 12 of those points took place in the first half, including a triple that put ASU up 16 to 6 to give them their largest lead of the night with 12:26 remaining.
Three-pointers from Will Richardson and Quincy Guerrier quickly cut the lead to 6, then Oregon was able to put together a 9-0 run to reclaim the lead at 22-21. Inspired play from Jacob Young and Franck Kepnang helped the Ducks end the half with a 1-point advantage, 31-30.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair as neither team was efficient enough on offense to fully pull away. Point guard Will Richardson greatly struggled in the contest, finishing 2-of-14 and 1-of-9 from deep, and fellow guard De’Vion Harmon also failed to guide the Oregon offense as he went just 3-of-12 from the floor.
Despite the poor guard play the Ducks nearly won in regulation when strong play from Kepnang was capped off by a pair of made free throws from the big man to put Oregon up 60-57 with 30 seconds on the clock. But the Sun Devils weren’t ready to quit, and Horne made another big play by sinking the game-tying triple to send it to overtime.
Oregon quickly fell behind in overtime but was able to rally back by scoring on forced turnovers. The Ducks led by 1 with a minute left, but once again ASU was able to sink a triple in crunch time. On the other side of the court, Richardson ended his rough night with a missed jumper to seal the loss.
UP NEXT: @ Stanford
Stanford, California - 12/12, 4:00 PM, PAC-12 NETWORK