Devils' defense monumental in rout of Ducks

Granted, any team converting 16 three pointers and shooting 54.5 percent from the field in the second half is likely to come away victorious. Nonetheless, it was Arizona State's trademark zone defense that helped just as much to keep Oregon at bay as the Sun Devils cruised to a 73-53 home win on Thursday night.

"We held them to under 30 percent field goal percentage," said ASU head coach Herb Sendek, "and forced 16 turnovers. I think our guys gave good defensive effort."

Arizona State (11-18, 3-14 Pac-10) never trailed in the game and the 14:17 mark of the first half already had four three pointers, three of them by Ty Abbott and led 14-7. Later in the period Rihards Kuksiks started to heat up himself beyond the arc and along with the stout defense by Jamelle McMillan the maroon and gold built a 38-26 halftime lead.

All of ASU's 16 three pointers in the game were scored by that trio.

"I was really proud of our three seniors," Sendek stated. "I thought each of them really contributed a great deal and played an outstanding game for us. I thought Jamelle's defensive effort, his deflections, his steals; his energy really set the tone on that end of the floor. Obviously Rik and Ty got hot behind the arc.

"Those three guys deserve a lot of credit and did a great job."

In the second stanza Oregon tried to stage a comeback and cut the deficit to 51-45 with 8:59 remaining. Back to back three pointers by McMillan opened the flood gates offensively for the hosts who went on to outscore Oregon 22-8 the remainder of the contest.

Abbott and Kuksiks each had 22 points to pace the Sun Devils, and McMillan added 11 points, as well as six assists and three steals. Kyle Cain had a solid effort with eight points and eight rebounds. Jay-R Strowbridge led Oregon with 17 points.

Both teams had 37 rebounds and 16 turnovers apiece. 22 of ASU's 25 baskets came through assists.

ASU will conclude their regular season when they host Oregon State at 2 pm.


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