With 14.6 seconds left in the game, Arizona State's Kyle Dodd nailed a three pointer to make the score 81-79. On the inbound play, Luke Jackson tipped the pass out of bounds so the ball went back to the Sun Devils with 13.2 seconds left.
(PHOTO RIGHT) Oregon's James Davis, left grabs a rebound ahead of Arizona State's Ike Diogu during the first half of their first-round game at the Pacific 10 tournament in Los Angeles Thursday, March 13, 2003. (AP Photo/Lucy Nicholson)
Arizona State took the ball out under their hoop and standing all alone was star freshman, Ike Diogu. Diogu caught the pass and went up strong, scoring the bucket and drawing a foul on Oregon's Andre Joseph.
"We switched wrong and Diogu was wide open," Joseph told OSN.
Diogu's free throw was good and Oregon trailed by one point with 12.1 seconds to go. The Ducks had huddled before Diogu's free throw and decided what play to run. They were going to run play number four, their high ball screen and roll. Luke Ridnour took the inbound pass and very casually took the ball down the floor. Luke Jackson set the high screen and Ridnour drove to the right past Jackson.
Ridnour found an opening and went to the hoop. With Arizona State's great shot blocker Tommy Smith flying at him, Ridnour threw up a shot off the glass that dropped into the hoop with 3.3 seconds to go.
(PHOTO LEFT) Oregon's Luke Ridnour (13) goes up to score the winning shot against Arizona State's Tommy Smith in the first round of the Pacific 10 tournament in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 13, 2003. Oregon won 83-82. (AP Photo/Lucy Nicholson)
"Luke was smart enough to know to get to the rim," Oregon Assistant Coach John Cooper told OSN. "It was almost like the defense didn't want to get over and foul him so it all just opened up and he put it in."
In their final possession, Arizona State missed a three-quarters court shot that would have won them the game. When that shot fell short, the Ducks' bench erupted. The Ducks were moving on to the next round.
Overall, this game was very back and forth. In the first half, neither team had more than an eight point lead. At the end of the half the Sun Devils led by one, 41-40 but the momentum was still up for grabs.
(PHOTO RIGHT) Arizona State forward Ike Diogu drives to the basket as Oregon center Matt Short defends during the second half of a first-round Pac-10 Conference tournament game in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 13, 2003. Oregon won 83-82. (AP Photo/Kim D. Johnson)
The Ducks took the early lead in the second half but when Arizona State tied the game again at the 14:00 mark, Oregon Coach Ernie Kent went to a small lineup. On the floor he put Luke Ridnour, James Davis, Andre Joseph, Luke Jackson and Robert Johnson.
"The adjustments were made when we went with the small lineup," Kent told OSN. "They are an athletic team and we could defend the drive better with that small lineup."
That small lineup gave Oregon the lead and played great defense on a bigger ASU team. Robert Johnson drew the unenviable task of guarding Ike Diogu. He played great defense though and was very active on the boards.
"There was a stretch where Robert Johnson did a great job on Diogu," Cooper said. "He just kept denying him the ball for three or four minutes."
(PHOTO LEFT) Oregon's Andre Joseph, left, jumps for a pass against Arizona State's Shawn Redhage during the second half of a first-round game at the Pacific 10 tournament in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 13, 2003. Oregon won 83-82. (AP Photo/Lucy Nicholson)
Andre Joseph had the toughest defensive job of all when the small lineup was on the floor. He had to guard a much larger Tommy Smith. With Joseph on him, Smith was nearly a non-factor. Not only did Joseph keep Smith from getting the ball but he was great in help defense on Diogu.
"Andre Joseph was our trap guy," Kent said. "He was so quick with double-teams (on Diogu) and he kept Smith from driving. He didn't score a whole lot but his energy and his toughness was the difference in the game."
That small lineup remained in for most of the second half. It sparked a few Oregon fast breaks and put a lot more firepower on the floor. Defensively, the efforts of the entire group were spectacular and powered the Ducks through to the win.
Ike Diogu played every minute for the Sun Devils in today's contest. He finished with 27 points on 11-19 shooting. He also grabbed a remarkable 18 rebounds. Curtis Millage, ASU's very quick guard, scored 25 points in 34 minutes. Tommy Smith and Shawn Redhage both added 11 points.
(PHOTO RIGHT) Arizona State's Ike Diogu, right, goes up for a basket against Oregon's Matt Short during the first half of a first-round game at the Pacific 10 tournament in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 13, 2003. (AP Photo/Lucy Nicholson)
"He's great," Andre Joseph said of Ike Diogu. "He's really good. We gave everything we had at him, double-team, triple-team and he still scored."
Luke Ridnour once again led the Ducks in scoring. In 38 minutes he had 23 points, was 4-4 from beyond the arc and had six assists. Luke Jackson finished with 17 points and eight boards. James Davis played a very solid game. He wound up with 16 points in 30 minutes. Robert Johnson garnered another double-double. 13 points and 11 rebounds in 29 minutes made him a key player for the Ducks in this ballgame.
Next up for the Ducks are the UCLA Bruins. UCLA upset the No. 1 Arizona Wildcats in action earlier today. The Ducks beat the Bruins both games this season but this is the Pac-10 Tournament and upsets can happen. Oregon however, hopes they can get past UCLA on Friday and into the championship game.
"We want to go out and win this tournament," Kent told Fox Sports.
Stats from www.goducks.com.