Fragile Ducks Fall 61-51

It almost looked scripted. The Oregon Ducks (12-12, 4-8) looked competitive in the first half and led by as many as nine points, but then just as the half melted away, the Arizona State Sun Devils woke up and tied the game at halftime and erasing the Ducks' hope for a win. However, there was a twist this time.

(PHOTO) Arizona State's Rihards Kuksiks, rear, defends on a shot attempt by Oregon's Matt Humphrey during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Tempe, Ariz., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Aaron J. Latham)

Arizona State, (18-8, 8-5) took control of the game in the second half and as has been the case all season long it looked like the very frigile psyche of the young Ducks would shatter leaving them with another blow out loss. This time though, the Ducks had a late run of their own and cut the ASU lead to just six points with a little over two minutes left in the contest. It was not to be though as Ty Abbott led all scorers with 19 points and Rihards Kuksiks adding 12 to help the Sun Devils hold on and notch a 61-51 win.

For so much of this season, the young Ducks have looked lost and without a will to win in the second half of games. Turnovers, poor ball handling and shooting have been the trademark for Oregon this season but for a few minutes the Ducks found themselves in the unusual position of having momentum in the second half. In fact they looked surprised they were still in the game.

Unfortunately, the Sun Devils proved to be the better team in the last two minutes and the Ducks could only think of what might have been if they played with the same intensity and consistency throughout the entire final 20 minutes.

Malcolm Armstead scored 16 points and Matt Humphrey had 11 for Oregon (12-12, 4-8), which has dropped eight of 10 games after a 2-0 start in Pac-10 play.

Oregon did have some bright moments particularly in their final run of the game. The Ducks had seven offensive boards but still trailed in total rebounds 33-24.

Oregon shot 40.4 percent for the game on 19-of-47 shooting including a respectable 7-of-22 or 31.8 percent from the 3-point line, but ASU's 10-for-29 in 3s proved to be the difference in the game. ASU shot 44.9 percent on 22-of-49.


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