Ducks Hold Off Sun Devils Rally, Win 76-69
By Michelle Smith
LOS ANGELES - Just six days after Arizona State dropped 16 three-pointers on Oregon, the Ducks returned the favor and ended the Sun Devils' season.
Oregon hit 11 shots from beyond the arc on the way to a 76-69 victory Wednesday night in the play-in round of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center.
The Ducks, who ended a four-game losing streak, move on to face second-seeded UCLA Thursday at 6:10 p.m.
Arizona State, which suffered through a multitude of injuries to key players this season, closes out its season with a 12-19 record, the first time in four seasons that the Sun Devils were unable to get to 20 wins.
The Sun Devils had swept the conference series against Oregon, but couldn't come up with a third win in the face of Oregon's stellar perimeter shooting. Arizona State had more field goals than Oregon (30-23), but couldn't match the 3-point production.
"I thought our guys did some good things on the offensive end," said Oregon coach Dana Altman, who earned his first postseason win as the Ducks' head coach. "Except for turnovers, I thought offensively we played really well. Our ball movement, our shot selection was good."
The Ducks (15-16) hit four three-pointers in the opening six minutes of the second half to go up 54-34 with 14:32 to go. And ASU was looking at a 17-point deficit with 7:45 to go.
But Arizona State rallied to cut the Ducks' advantage to 71-64 with 52 seconds to go in the game.
Oregon was led by sophomore forward EJ Singler, who had a career-high 22 points.
"Coming off four loses, we came in wanting to play really aggressive," Singler said. "Coach did a good job switching defenses and getting us ready for this game."
Arizona State got 22 points from leading scorer Trent Lockett. Lockett scored 18 of those in the second half. ASU's Ty Abbott, who scored 22 against the Ducks last week, was the center of Oregon's defensive plan and he ended up taking just one shot in the game.
"We wanted somebody else to shoot the ball, he really hurt us last week," Altman said. "Defensively, I liked the looks we gave them."
Altman said he did not necessarily believe the third time was going to be the charm for his team.
"If a team is better, they are better and they are going to beat you unless you do something to change that," Altman said.