Ducks beat ASU 98-87

After some heart breaking defeats, things went differently on Saturday for the Oregon Ducks (11-14, 5-8 Pac-10) as they found some hot shooting from Chamberlain Oguchi and some tough defense to stop the Arizona State Sun Devils, 98-87. Oregon led nearly the entire game and at one point built a 20-point lead with Oguchi hitting six 3-point shots for the second game in a row.

The Ducks played tenacious defense in the first half of the game building a 42-29 lead at the intermission. In the second half Oregon's shooting touch stayed hot as the Ducks connected on 29-of-50 (.580) including a sizzling 11-of-24 (.524) from 3-point range. The Ducks also broke the cold free throw shooting jinx today by hitting 20-of-33 (.879). Five Ducks were in double-figures led by Malik Hairston's 22. Oguchi put in 20 with Aaron Brooks contributing 18 while Maarty Leunen added 17 and Ivan Johnson chipped in 10. Hairston and Brooks also made the most out of their free throws. Hairston was perfect from the charity line going 7-for-7 and Brooks was 11-of-12 in free throws. Leunen and Johnson also were 4-of-4 each from shooting free throws and oddly, Oguchi did not make a trip to the line.

"The name of the game is to put the ball in the hole," Oregon head coach Ernie Kent told the Oregon Sports Network after the game. "You start shooting the basketball and the ball is going in, it just gives you so much energy all over the floor."

Two ASU players, Jeff Pendergraph and Sylvester Seay had 21 while Kyle Kruger added 14 (4-of-7 3-pointers) and Antwi Atuahene had 10.

The game broke a six-game losing streaking dating back to January 19th when the Ducks beat Washington State 52-50. One other jinx the Ducks may have broke was the tendency to go through long scoreless streaks during the game. Just after the Ducks went ahead by 20, the Sun Devils called a 30 second time out and came back to deliver a 9-point streak of their own. Oguchi hit a big 3-point shot to keep the Ducks lead at 14 and while ASU made several more runs, the Ducks would not crumble.

"They did it," proclaimed Kent of his team. "They are the ones who hung it there and figured some things out, they shot it extremely well. They defended like madmen in the first half, played a great offensive game in the second half."

Oregon returns back to McArthur Court next week to take on Washington (Thusday, 5:30 p.m. tip-off) and Saturday against Washington State (1 p.m. tip-off).

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