Oregon box-and-1 catches ASU by surprise

Despite shooting 53 percent from the field, Sun Devils unable to beat Ducks for third time this season.

LOS ANGELES – After taking both games from Oregon in the regular season, including a 73-53 romp last Thursday in Tempe, Arizona State thought it had seen everything.

So the Sun Devils were as surprised as anyone when the Ducks pulled out a box-and-1 defense designed to shut down guard Ty Abbott in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament.

The subterfuge worked as Abbott was held scoreless in his final collegiate game and Oregon downed Arizona State, 76-69, on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

"That wasn't something we were really ready for and they caught us off-guard. It was a good move by them. I wasn't ready to do what I had to do to help the team win," an emotional Abbott said afterwards.

"The last two games, we pretty much had control," guard Jamelle McMillan said. "They made a lot of adjustments that we couldn't figure out and were off-balance pretty much the whole night."

Abbott finished with two steals, three assists and four rebounds, but also had three of the 16 Arizona State (12-19) turnovers.

"They always made sure there were always two guys, one behind me and one in front of me," said Abbott, who attempted just one field goal while playing a team-high 34 minutes. "There wasn't much room for me to operate."

Even with Abbott drawing constant attention, the Sun Devils still managed to turn in one of their best offensive showings of the season, shooting 53.6 percent from the field, offset by an 8 for 27 performance from the 3-point line.

Trent Lockett scored 22 points, connecting on 10 of his 12 field goal attempts. McMillan and Rihards Kuksiks each added 11 points.

Oregon (15-16) used a 16-5 run at the start of the second half to blow the game open, keyed by eight points from forward E.J. Singler, who finished with a team-high 22 points.

The Ducks pushed their lead as high as 20 before a late push finally pulled Arizona State within eight with 3:22 left to play.

"Our guys played hard within the (full court) press and allowed us to get back within the game somewhat," Sun Devils head coach Herb Sendek said.

Oregon will face second-seeded UCLA on Thursday at 6 p.m.


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