Newcomers carry ASU to road victory

With seven first-year players on ASU's roster, this group's performance throughout the season would naturally dictate in large part the Sun Devils' success this season. On a night where their leading scorer was sidelined and its seniors struggled, the maroon and gold enjoyed career nights from JC transfers Carrick Felix and Brandon Dunson who led ASU to their first Pac-10 win, 60-55 at Oregon.

Coming off an embarrassing loss at Oregon State two nights ago, Arizona State (8-5, 1-1 Pac-10) looked like anything but a frazzled squad in the first few minutes of tonight's game, jumping to an 11-3 lead against Oregon (7-7, 0-2) at the 14:35 mark. Alas, the visitors let the Ducks back in the game as Oregon used a 12-4 run to tie the game at 15-15 at the 10:21 mark.

Six straight points by Carrick Felix, who replaced the injured Trent Lockett, and a late basket by Brandon Dunson gave ASU a slim 28-24 halftime lead, but the Ducks playing their last game ever at fabled Mac Court jumped to a 40-35 lead at the 13:14 mark of the second stanza.

However, Dunson and Felix made sure that this Oregon lead was going to be short lived and a three-point basket by another newcomer, Corey Hawkins, put ASU ahead 56-51 with 5:56 left in the game. The Sun Devils survived a five minute plus drought down the stretch as Felix scores four points in the last 33 seconds of the game to secure the precious road victory.

Felix paced his team with 19 points and four assists. Dunson posted 14 points in 29 minutes of play off the bench. With Kyle Cain fouling out Ruslan Pateev stepped up in a major way with 10 points and four blocks playing a reserve role as well. Aside from his crucial three-point shot late in the game, Hawkins was the unlikely team rebounding leader with seven. All in all, 29 of the Sun Devils' 60 points came from its reserves. E.J. Singler led Oregon with 19 points.

The Ducks were limited to 32.1 percent shooting from the field, but much like many ASU opponents this season ruled the glass winning the rebound battle 36-31 and hauling in 13 offensive rebounds. In such a close game the Sun Devils were fortunate that their 64.7 percent shooting from the line (11 of 17) didn't come back to haunt them Saturday night in Eugene.

Even though last season ASU enjoyed much success in league play despite a 0-2 start, needless to say that the Sun Devils didn't want to press their luck and follow that path again in the 2010-11. While we may have to use the term, winnable games, with caution, ASU is theoretically hosting such a contest this coming Thursday evening at home versus Stanford at 6:30 p.m. and will look to build on the momentum that tonight's win hopefully provided.

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