Ducks Edge Devils in a Thriller

Desperate times call for desperate measures. When it came to post season prospects, Oregon was in dire need for a win this evening, while ASU has seemingly already assured that their name will be called during selection Sunday. Whether it was desperation or fate, the Ducks were able to squeak by the Devils scoring a running lay-up with only three seconds left. The 83-82 loss left Rob Evans' team hopeful that this defeat wouldn't hamper their quest to be a part of March madness.

Tommy Smith came out of the gates blazing, and his six points helped ASU hold a slim 14-12 lead at the 14:10 mark. The Sun Devils starters were able to break away to a 34-24 lead with only six minutes left in the first half. Some may argue that the faith of the game was sealed from here about. The Ducks went on a 12-4 run and tied the game at 38-38 with 2:10 left in the first period. Even though ASU was able to finish the half with a 41-40 lead, momentum was clearly on Oregon's side.

The Ducks' Luke Ridnour scored two straight three pointers, as part of his team's four long bombs in the first three minutes of the second half. That outburst propelled Oregon to a 52-46 lead. Both teams tied the score and exchanged leads several times in the following minutes, and Smith's basket closed the gap to 61-59 with 10:01 remaining in the contest. However, things looked bleak with yet another Ridnour three pointer, which gave his team a 76-68 lead at the 2:35 mark. Curtis Millage and Ike Digou help engineer one last ASU run, and Diogu's improbable three-point play gave the Devils an 82-81 lead with only 12 seconds to go. Unfortunately for Arizona State Ridnour had a little magic left in him. The Pac-10 player of the year took the ball coast to coast and his running lay-up notched an invaluable victory for Oregon, while sending the Sun Devils home earlier than they hoped for.

The usual four suspects were once again in double figures for ASU. Diogu matched his career best 27 points, and his 18 boards set a new career record for the freshman. Millage added 25 points; three steals and was a perfect 6-6 from the line. Smith and Shawn Redhage each had 11 points. Smith's six assists were negated by the equal number of turnovers. The Devils dominated the glass to the tune of 35-27. However, they were hampered by 18 turnovers and more importantly seven missed free throws, which they could ill afford in a nip and tuck game such as today's.

All indications are that tonight's outcome affected the Devils' seeding, but not their chances of going to the big dance. Nevertheless, waiting for the announcement this Sunday has become more anxious than any maroon and gold fan would wish for. In all reality, the nervousness ASU is feeling right now should turn into jubilation when the field of 65 is announced. We all waited nearly eight years for an invite, what's another three days…?

Sun Devil Source Top Stories