Choose Your Own Hero

Let's set the scene. It's late in the ballgame and Arizona State has fought back to within two points at 72-70. There's just under three minutes left and the Oregon Ducks need a big shot. Who do they turn to? <br><br>Oregon's Jordan Kent, left, eyes the basket after receiving a pass from teammate Luke Jackson, second from right, as Arizona State's Steve Moore (21) and Keith Wooden, right, defend during the first half Thursday, Jan. 22, 2004, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Roy Dabner)

Luke Jackson? He wouldn't be a bad choice. The forward finished with 21 points and 12 assists, a number that was just one shy of an Oregon record shared by Terrell Brandon, Andre Collier and Darius Wright. But no, don't pick him.

James Davis? Davis did finish with 15 points and shot 60 percent from the field, but no, not him either.

Mitch Platt or Ian Crosswhite? They both played well. Platt finished with 13 points and Crosswhite had 15. Both were extremely effective on ASU's Ike Diogu in the low block, but they weren't the choice either.

(PHOTO RIGHT) Oregon's Luke Jackson, left, is fouled by Arizona State's Allen Morill during the first half Thursday, Jan. 22, 2004, in Tempe, Ariz.(AP Photo/Roy Dabner)

Enter Andre Joseph. The 6-foot-3 guard from Houston, Texas calmly drilled a three-pointer to put the Ducks up five and steal all of ASU's momentum.

"Sometimes you get in a zone and just feel it," Joseph told OSN. He finished with 14 points and six boards.

Oregon (9-4, 4-2) rode the wave of emotion to an 83-76 win at the Wells Fargo Center, the Ducks' first win over the Sun Devils (7-8, 1-5) in that building since 1999-2000, before any of the current seniors were on the roster.

"It was a huge win, to come down here where we haven't had much success and win like this," Oregon coach Ernie Kent told OSN.

The Ducks started out the game controlling the tempo and running on the Sun Devils. They even led by 12 at the 6:02 mark after a James Davis triple. However, ASU didn't go away.

Last season's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Ike Diogu, scored 10 points in a six minute stretch and helped bring the game back to a 35-28 Oregon advantage at the half. If it weren't for Diogu, Oregon would have held a much more commanding lead.

(PHOTO LEFT) Arizona State's Ike Diogu, left, is called for a charge against Oregon's Ian Crosswhite as Luke Jackson, right, watches during the first half Thursday, Jan. 22, 2004, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Roy Dabner)

In that period, Ian Crosswhite looked great. He was getting on the floor after loose balls and was doing a great job playing help defense against Diogu and any of the other bigs down low.

Mitch Platt also had a great effort in the first half. He displayed the low post moves that he showed fans in the Fresno State game earlier in the season. Again, playing in front of the Platt Pack, Mitch Platt came to play.

"I thought he set the whole tone tonight with how effective he was in the low block," Kent said of the freshman from Henderson, Nevada.

The second half started at breakneck pace. ASU went down and hit a shot, and then the Ducks would do the same thing. Oregon wasn't able to open a lead and ASU couldn't close the gap. Slowly but surely, ASU started making a few more shots than the Ducks and started to inch closer.

Arizona State actually led with 10:24 left after a Stevie Moore four-point-play put them up 60-56. Luke Jackson went right back down the court, and with the coolest of hands, drilled a three-pointer. The Ducks weren't letting this one slip away.

(PHOTO RIGHT) Oregon's Mitch Platt (3) scores two points over Arizona State's Keith Wooden during the first half Thursday, Jan. 22, 2004, in Tempe, Ariz.(AP Photo/Roy Dabner)

Mitch Platt, Ian Crosswhite and Andre Joseph then took the team the rest of the way, regaining the lead, then pulling away. Crosswhite, especially, did a tremendous job inside and at the free throw line in the final minutes.

The Ducks also came up big on the boards. After a few tough rebounding games, the Ducks stepped it up in the win, out-rebounding the Sun Devils 32-31. Mitch Platt finished with eight.

"(We) did a terrific job of keeping (ASU) off the boards," Kent said.

Next for Oregon will be a trip to Tucson and the Arizona Wildcats. The Wildcats will be a tough game for the Ducks as players like Salim Stoudamire, Mustafa Shakur, Chris Rodgers, Hassan Adams and Andre Iguodala will run and gun while 6 foot 11 Channing Frye will pound the ball inside.

Oregon may look to use their size advantage against Arizona and try to get them in foul trouble to expose their not so deep bench. The Ducks and Wildcats will play on Sunday at 1:00pm on CBS.


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