Ducks Dry Up In Pursuit of Desert Sweep

In a game dominated by runs and free throws, Oregon came up just short, losing to Arizona State 95-88 Sunday night in Tempe, Arizona.

With the Ducks shooting a paltry 42.4% from the floor, strong free throw shooting and key defensive stops kept them close until the final two minutes of the game.

ASU grabbed an early lead, going up 13 with 11:00 to go in the first on an Awvee Storey jumper. Oregon fought back closing the first half on a pair of runs, including an 11-2 spurt highlighted by two Anthony Lever jumpers and a Luke Ridnour three pointer. Arizona State led at the buzzer however, 44-41.

The second half saw Oregon guard Freddie Jones fight through foul trouble and contribute with 15 points in 16 scattered minutes of play. Luke Jackson, Luke Ridnour, Robert Johnson and Anthony Lever also wound up in double figures, scoring 19, 17, 12 and 14 respectively. Johnson also added 13 rebounds.

Arizona State's Chad Prewitt stole the show scoring 27 points on 7-10 shooting from the floor and 13-14 from the line. The Sun Devils also had big games from Curtis Millage who had 17 points, Kenny Crandall with 14 and Tommy Smith with 10. Prewitt also came up big, grabbing 10 of his 12 rebounds in the second half.

ASU benefited from outstanding shooting, resulting in a 57.4% mark from the field. This shooting was not streaky, seemingly matching every run the Ducks could mount in the second half. If Arizona wasn't beating the Ducks from the field, they were beating them at the foul line. "Giving up 95 points is way too many for us to give up, and they got them going to the hoop and at the foul line," Coach Ernie Kent told OSN after the game.

The pace of the game was controlled by officiating with more than one foul being called every minute of the game. The men in stripes blew their whistles 52 times which allowed for 75 foul shots between the two teams. One whistle in particular though will stick with the Ducks on their flight home.

After an ASU jumper caromed off the rim with under a minute to play, Arizona State apparently knocked the ball out of bounds although possession was awarded to the Sun Devils. On the ensuing play, ASU's Curtis Millage drove to the hoop made the layup and was fouled by Oregon's Luke Jackson sending him to the bench with his fifth personal. Millage then made his free throw with 25 seconds to go, giving the Sun Devils a 92-88 lead all but sealing Oregon's fate.

This loss puts Oregon at 3-1 in PAC-10 play and 9-4 overall leaving them just behind the Southern California schools in the conference standings. The team is looking forward to coming home for a three game stand, "It will help a lot (to go home)," Kent told OSN after the game. "We'll have the students back in town, and we really need Mac Court rocking, especially for Stanford on Saturday."

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