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Sun Devils lose nail-biter to Oregon, fall 68-65

January 14, 2013

The Arizona State men's basketball team continued their road trip in Oregon, Jan. 13, this time coming out with a different result, dropping their tilt with the Ducks, 68-65. The loss is only the Sun Devils' third, and first in Pac-12 play as they move to 14-3 (3-1).

Things were all square early on between the two Pac-12 foes as the teams were tied at nine at the first official timeout, thanks to five quick points by ASU freshman point guard Jahii Carson. The Sun Devils came out of the timeout and quickly gathered a 19-11 lead, but were countered just as quickly by the Ducks.

Oregon went on a run of their own, as they scored the game's next 12 points to take the lead, 23-19. The Sun Devils regained the lead thanks to a three-pointer by Jonathan Gilling, but the Ducks proved a little too much for ASU for the remainder of the first half, as they took a 32-28 lead into the locker room.

Evan Gordon led the way for the Devils at the half with 10 points, followed by Carson's seven points and two assists. Big man Jordan Bachynski finished off the first 20 minutes of play with eight points, three rebounds and two blocks. ASU had eight turnovers in the final nine minutes of the first half.

It was Oregon who started hot in the second half, jumping out to a 39-32 lead before the Sun Devils responded, going on a 6-0 run to once again pull within one. The Devils remained close for much of the second half, but struggled to gain and maintain a lead of their own.

The Ducks started to pull away as they led 51-46, but Carson came up big for ASU, hitting a runner in the lane while getting fouled. He completed the three-point play trimming the lead to two.

Finally Arizona State grabbed the lead back with 7:08 to play in the game, as Carson found Gordon, who got the defender to bite on the pump fake as he stepped in and drained a long two. The lead was short-lasted, however, as both teams struggled to take control of the game.

Coming out of the final official timeout Carson hit one of two free throws, which tied the game at 57, setting up for an exciting finish between the two teams.

The Ducks hit a shot on their following possession, but Carrick Felix responded with a three to help the Sun Devils regain the lead, 60-59. The lead was short lived as the Ducks hit a bucket on the other end, once again gaining the edge. They then extended the lead to three with another basket.

Carson then hit a finger roll on an isolation to cut the lead to 63-62 with just over 40 seconds to play, but Oregon countered with two free throws on the other end.

Gilling tried to answer but missed a three-pointer which was rebounded by the Ducks, who in turn made two more free throws, seemingly incing the game with 13.6 seconds to play.

The Sun Devils and Carson refused to go quietly, however, as the freshman sensation drilled a pull-up three with 7.1 seconds to play. The Ducks hit only one of two free throws after, missing their first free throw of the night to give ASU a final shot down by three, but Felix missed wide from the perimeter as the buzzer sounded, giving Oregon their 14th victory of the season.

Carson led all scorers with 20 points to go along with his seven rebounds and four assists, while Gordon finished with 17 points on 3-6 shooting from behind the arc. Felix had 12 points and six rebounds after coming off back-to-back double-doubles.

The Sun Devils finished the game shooting 47.3 percent from the field on 26-55 shooting. Oregon shot only 40.7 percent on 24-59 from the floor. ASU played a relatively clean second half and finished with only 12 turnovers after struggling in the category during the first half.

The loss drops Arizona State to 3-1 in Pac-12 play. They will return to action against their in-state rivals Arizona on Jan. 19, as the game is slated for 12:30 p.m. (MT) from Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe.