Ducks Defeat ASU 67-61 for Crucial Pac-10 Win

Eugene, OR - In a critical Pac-10 contest, Malik Hairston led the Oregon Ducks (17-12, 8-9) to an important 67-61 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils. Hairston came out inspired on both ends of the floor and led the Ducks with 19 points. Oregon is now tied with Arizona State (18-11, 8-9) in conference play.

Maarty Leunen, coming off of a career high 32 points against Oregon State, hit several free-throws down the stretch to hold off a late ASU run. Said Leunen of the importance of the win, "it was huge. It gives us a chance to go 9-9 in conference. (It was) big for momentum and confidence."

Oregon led most of the game and took a 33-32 lead into halftime behind 12 points from Hairston. Oregon shot 50% from the field from three-point range in the half, hitting six of 12 including 2-2 from freshman LeKendric Longmire.

Coach Ernie Kent said that Malik "played a big, big game in a pressure packed situation."

Oregon opened the 2nd half with a 7-0 run to open up a 40-32 advantage that they would never relinquish. Hairston scored the first five points of the half on a lay-up and three-pointer to energize the home crowd.

Oregon led comfortably for most of the second half until a late Sun Devil run trimmed the lead to 4. Five consecutive misses from Oregon at the free-throw line and some timely three-pointers allowed ASU to get back in the game before Leunen iced the game at the line.

TaJuan Porter scored 12 points for Oregon, all on three pointers, as he hit 4 of 10 from beyond the arc. Leunen added 10 points and nine rebounds and was a perfect 8-8 from the line.

Porter, looking ahead to Saturdays showdown with Arizona, commented that there will be a "lot of emotion" in the gym as Oregon's seniors play their final game at Mac Court. Porter expects a huge battle as "both teams are on the bubble."

Arizona State was led by impressive freshman guard James Harden who led all scorers with 22 points and led the Sun Devils with 6 rebounds. Center Jeff Pendergraph added 10 points and five rebounds.

The Ducks shot 49% from the field for the game on 20-41 shooting and also hit 43.5% of their three-point attempts, hitting 10-23. Oregon was competitive on the boards battling ASU to a 26-26 rebounding tie.

Oregon keeps its faint NCAA tourney hopes alive with the victory and faces a must win game against Arizona on Saturday in what coach Kent described as a huge game for both teams postseason hopes.

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