ASU falls to Oregon as Tra Holder is held scoreless
EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon’s secret to success still comes down to simple plays.
When the Ducks make them, they usually earn coach Dana Altman’s seal of approval.
Elijah Brown had 19 points and seven rebounds, and MiKyle McIntosh added 16 points to lead Oregon past Arizona State 75-68 on Thursday night.
Paul White had 11 points for the Ducks (18-10, 8-7 Pac-12), who beat the Sun Devils (19-8, 7-8) for the eighth consecutive time and moved into a tie for sixth in the conference standings.
“Our formula for this team hasn’t changed much,” Altman said. “When we out-rebound people and hold them under 70 (points), our success rate has been pretty high.
“We’ll take it. We did a good job.”
Shannon Evans II led ASU with 25 points and Remy Martin added 15 off the bench. Tra Holder, the Sun Devils’ leading scorer at 19.3 points per game, was 0 of 6 from the field and went scoreless for the first time in 64 games, since near the end of his sophomore season.
“Your guys are going to have games like this and it’s hard to overcome it against a quality opponent on the road,” ASU coach Bobby Hurley said of Holder. “I thought he had some decent looks in the first half but couldn’t get into any flow.
“He’ll bounce back. We’ve got to get over this fast.”
Kodi Justice had 12 points for ASU.
Brown, who was coming off a 19-point game against UCLA, was 8 of 12 overall and scored 12 points in the second half as Oregon never trailed after the break.
“He had a good ballgame,” Altman said. “He didn’t force anything and took the shots we’ve seen him take in practice.
“Just keep it simple. I thought he had a couple really good shots there.”
The Ducks outrebounded ASU 40-32 and had a 36-14 edge in points in the paint. Oregon found similar success in its 76-72 victory over the then-No. 11 Sun Devils on the road in early January.
Oregon led 43-40 after a sluggish first half by going inside, led by McIntosh with nine points. Brown had 10 straight points bridging halftime as the Ducks built their largest lead at 53-40.
“We didn’t start the half the way we usually start second halves,” Hurley said. “We’re behind and then we’re chasing them. The second half we let them go to the offensive glass, and they kind of bullied us around the basket.”
De’Quon Lake matched his season-high of 12 rebounds in a reserve role for ASU.
Arizona State fell to eighth place and below .500 in conference play with three Pac-12 games remaining. The Sun Devils need to avoid an 8-9 matchup in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament if they don’t want the possibility of facing Arizona in the quarterfinals.
Oregon catches the Pac-12’s only ranked team in Eugene at the perfect time — Arizona without suspended star guard Allonzo Trier after he tested positive for a banned substance — though the Wildcats did beat Oregon State 75-65 in overtime without him. Trier’s absence, pending an appeal, could throw the Pac-12 tournament wide open in Las Vegas next month.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Kenny Wooten had four blocks, giving the freshman 77 for the season, after having none in Oregon’s losses at USC and UCLA last week.
“He changed the game for us defensively tonight,” Altman said. “They were looking over their shoulder when they were bringing it in (there), and he altered three, four, maybe five other shots.”
HE SAID IT
ASU got just two points in 47 minutes from Mickey Mitchell, Romello White and Holder. “When you have three starters that combine to score two points with the minutes they played,” Hurley said, “that’s not a formula for success on the road.”
Arizona State: Plays at Oregon State on Saturday night.
Oregon: Hosts No. 14 Arizona on Saturday night.