Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Ducks move on to Semi-Finals on Firday

LAS VEGAS, NEV. – The Oregon Ducks used a combination of stiff second half defense and timely scoring from Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey to put away the Arizona State Sun Devils, 80-57 in the second round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament.

Both Brooks (22) and Dorsey (21) scored over 20 points each to provide the fire power in the second half but it was the tenacious Duck defense that caused ASU to go 8-for-33 in field goal shooting or 24.2 percent. On top of the that, the Ducks controlled the rebounding by a 48-29 advantage. Guard Dylan Ennis was the leading rebounder for the game with 12 rebounds while Dorsey pulled down nine.

“Tyler (Dorsey) having nine boards today and Dylan (Ennis) having 12, I thought was a big, big plus for us,” said Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman of the Duck rebounding effort. “To be real honest those two guys (Ennis and Casey Benson, who were also on the post-game podium with Altman) have been on him a little bit about getting to the boards more.”

The game was a close affair in the first half with the score see-sawing back and forth before Oregon headed into the locker room at halftime with a 3-point lead at 34-31. Oregon had problems with Torian Graham especially in the first half as he canned 16 of ASU’s 31 points. Overall Graham was the game’s leading scorer with 32 points.

When the final 20 minutes of play resumed for the second half there was a noticeable increase in defensive intensity as evidenced by the fact that the Sun Devils went eight minutes without a field goal. During that FG shutout streak, Oregon scored at will and ran the score up to 54-40, and also took advantage of the lead to allow Brooks, Jordan Bell and Dorsey some rest time.

“I didn’t have the best play to attack them,” said ASU’s Bobby Hurley of ASU’s second half lack of offensive production. “I thought we attacked them better in our first game with them, and I think we got by them a little bit easier. Some of that could be a physical tool, just not having the gear that you need to go by your man off the dribble and create a play.

“I think at time we didn’t kick the ball out on drives that we made,” continued Hurley. “So, we struggled. We just got in a bad space on offense, and they switched a lot.”

The Sun Devils managed a mini-run of their own and when Shannon Evans II slammed home a dunk to cut Oregon’s lead to 10 at 58-48, Altman called a 30-second time and quickly reinserted Brooks, Bell and Dorsey. That resulted in Oregon spurting out to a commanding 77-55 Oregon lead. Altman cleared his bench and the Ducks cruised to a victory.

“I thought the start of the ballgame was really bad for us because gave Graham two wide-open threes to get his rhythm,” admitted Altman of Oregon’s first half play and the adjustments his team needed to make.

“You can’t exchange baskets,” Altman concluded. “That hasn’t been a very good formula for us this season. When we do that, games go right down to the wire, and those are the games we haven’t done well in.”

Overall Oregon shot 49.2 percent on 30-of-61 shooting including hitting eight 3-ponters but the Ducks free throw shooting lagged a behind as they only converted 12-of-19 free throws.

ASU shot a chilly 31-1 percent for the game on 19-of-61 shooting but did hit nine 3-point shots. The Sun Devils kept alive in the first part of the second half by its free throw shooting and finished the game with a respectable 10-for-12 mark from the charity stripe.

The Ducks now advance to the semi-final round against the winner of this afternoon’s Utah-California game. The contest on Friday will begin at 6 p.m. (Pacific) and will be carried on the Pac-12 Networks.

Official Box Score

Notes:

·         Oregon is now 25-14 all-time in the Pac-12 Tournament, including 5-1 as the top seed, 30- against ASU and 12-4 under Dana Altman.

·         In the 16 years since the conference tournament returned back in 2002, Oregon has advanced past the first game 12 times.

·         The higher seed has won the last 24 games of the Pac-12 Tournament going back to Game 4 of the 2015 tourney.

·         The Pac-12 Player of the Year Dillon Brooks is now 13th all-time on the Oregon scoring list with 1,501 career points and is 10 points behind Aaron Brooks for the No. 12 spot. Additionally, the 657 points he scored this season is the third most any Duck has scored in one season.

·         Dorsey scored 20 plus points for the fifth time this season.

·         The Ducks finished the last seven minutes of the game on a 20-5 run.

·         The Ducks now have a total of 216 blocked shots for the season.

·         Oregon is 91-6 in the last five season when the opponent is held under 70 points.

·         The Ducks have made at least one 3-pointer in the last 667 consecutive games.


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