Oregon upsets No. 11 Arizona State 76-72
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Oregon has been through its share of disappointments this season after reaching the Final Four last spring, none bigger than a loss to rival Oregon State last week.
A road win over the No. 11 team in the country was just what the Ducks needed and it could get them back on the right track.
Payton Pritchard scored 18 points and hit two free throws with 13.8 seconds left, helping Oregon bounce back from its loss to the Beavers with a 76-72 win over No. 11 Arizona State on Thursday night.
”We needed something good to happen,” Oregon coach Dana Altman. ”We hadn’t been playing very well and that was a lot better effort.”
The Ducks had a solid run through their non-conference schedule after losing most of the key players from last year’s team, but struggled once the Pac-12 season started. Oregon lost two of its first three conference games to match its total for the entire 2016-17 season and had the disheartening trip to Corvallis.
The Ducks (12-5, 2-2 Pac-12) had a much better flow offensively and kept Arizona State’s high-speed offense from getting up and running to win their biggest game of the season.
Oregon used a late spurt to go up eight points, outscored Arizona State 38-16 in the paint and had 15 second-chance points on 15 offensive rebounds. Elijah Brown had 18 points and hit two free throws with 32 seconds left for Oregon.
”We talked about some of the stuff we’ve been going through, the losses and other things, and we came together as a team,” said Oregon’s Mikyle McIntosh, who had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Arizona State (13-3, 1-3) had not been as good since an undefeated run through its nonconference schedule, opening the Pac-12 season with two straight losses. The Sun Devils seemed to find themselves again during a victory at Utah, but lost their rhythm against Ducks to lose in front of the largest crowd (13,693) at Wells Fargo Arena since 2010.
The senior trio of Tra Holder, Shannon Evans II and Kodi Justice tried to bring the Sun Devils back from a late eight-point deficit with former Sun Devils star James Harden and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in the front row, but came up short to lose for the first time in nine home games this season.
Justice had 21 points, Evans 19 and Holder finished with 14.
”We’re 1-3 and we’ve got our work cut out for us,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. ”We’ve got to find ourselves again.”
In its loss to Oregon State, Oregon allowed the Beavers to shoot 53 percent and go on a 12-1 second-half run.
Arizona State had a similar stretch against the Ducks in the first half, getting its up-tempo game rolling after a shaky start during an 11-0 run to go up 31-18.
The Ducks fought their way back behind Brown, closing the first half on a 14-2 run and pulling even at 41-all on his buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Oregon picked up a huge road win in a game that could get the Ducks headed back in the right direction.
Arizona State dominated teams during the nonconference schedule, but is finding the road much tougher in the Pac-12.
Roman Sorkin gave the Ducks quite a boost. Oregon’s senior forward had 10 points in the Ducks’ previous 10 games, but had 11 in 8 minutes to help them build a 58-55 lead midway through the second half. Sorkin finished with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
”He just put me in there and I was ready,” he said. ”I was kind of relaxed and my team got me good shots.”
Freshman guard Remy Martin has been a game-changer coming off the bench for the Sun Devils this season. He had little impact against Oregon, finishing with two points and no assists in 15 minutes. Martin played 4 minutes after halftime.
”I just didn’t feel like it was his night and sometimes that happens,” Hurley said. ”It was more of a feel thing and Remy is going to be a big part of our team moving forward.”
Oregon faces No. 17 Arizona on Saturday, the Ducks’ first back-to-back road games against ranked opponents since 2006-07.
Arizona State hosts Oregon State on Saturday.
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