Sun Devils Smoke Ducks

March 7, 2003

AP Sports Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. - Curtis Millage tied his season high with 27 points andTommy Smith tied his career high with 24 as Arizona State pulled even withOregon in Pac-10 standings with a 91-77 win over the Ducks on Thursday night.

Ike Diogu had 17 points and 14 rebounds and Smith contributed 11 reboundsand five assists as the Sun Devils (18-10, 10-7) snapped a three-game losingstreak.

Luke Ridnour had 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Ducks(20-8, 10-7), and Luke Jackson scored 20 points.

The Ducks and Sun Devils will meet in the first round of the conferencetournament next week, but both hoped to solidify their NCAA tournament chanceswith a late regular-season victory.

Oregon played confidently in building a four-point halftime lead.

But the Ducks had three turnovers in the first 3:30 of the second half, andArizona State went on a 14-2 run, opening a 55-47 lead when Diogu tipped in hisown missed shot with 16:10 to go.

Shawn Redhage, who had 12 points in just his third start of the season,forced another turnover with his defense on Ridnour, who threw the ball intothe backcourt. Smith grabbed it and dunked, sending the Sun Devils to a 58-48lead with 15:06 remaining.

Oregon got within 58-56 after three-point plays by Andre Joseph and JamesDavis, and, after the Sun Devils responded, Ridnour cut the deficit to 69-66with a 3-pointer with 7:16 to go.

But Joseph blew two layups and Ridnour picked up two offensive fouls downthe stretch.

Smith drove the baseline for a dunk, got an offensive rebound and made aputback during a 13-4 spurt that opened an 80-67 lead with 2:00 left.

No more than four points separated the teams in the first half, and therewere 12 lead changes - the last when Joseph made a layup with 1:18 to play.

Ridnour, who had 20 points at halftime, made his fourth 3-pointer of thehalf 28 seconds later and followed two free throw by Millage with two of hisown with 6.7 seconds to go for a 45-41 halftime lead.

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