(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
The 2016-17 season is over for Arizona State after an 80-57 blowout loss to No. 5 Oregon in the quarter-finals of the Pac-12 tournament.
The game started as a back and forth affair, with Oregon gaining the advantage early. A layup by ASU freshman forward Ramon Vila tied the game at 23, and a jumper from Torian Graham two plays later put the Sun Devils up by two.
Oregon (28-4) managed to retake the lead late in the first half off a dunk by junior forward Kavell Bigby-Williams, and junior Dillion Brooks hit a three with 50 seconds to go to give the Ducks a 34 to 31 lead at the break.
Brooks lead Oregon with 22 points and secured seven rebounds as well.
In the final game of his senior regular season ASU guard Torian Graham had one of the best performances of his college career. Graham exploded for a career-high 32 points on 12 of 25 shooting with seven made three-pointers and six rebounds.
Graham was seemingly given the green light from head coach Bobby Hurley as he continued to dominant the shooting for ASU (15-18) throughout the game. He was even awarded the Player of the Game by the Pac-12 Network broadcast despite being from the losing team, which has never happened before in the Pac-12 tournament.
Unfortunately for Graham, he received absolutely no help on the offensive end from his teammates.
No other ASU player scored more than seven points or hit more than two shots from the field. Graham had 12 of the Sun Devils 19 total made shots and accounted for seven of the team’s nine successful three-pointers. Junior guards Tra Holder and Kodi Justice had abysmal games shooting the ball, going 0 of 7 and 2 of 13 from the floor respectively.
Senior forward Obinna Oleka rebounded the ball well with a team-high 11 boards but scored just six points in the final regular season game of his college career.
The lack of production outside of Graham began to really affect ASU in the second half. Oregon went on a 20-9 run to start the half, capped off by a crafty layup inside by junior forward Jordan Bell.
Graham valiantly tried to carry ASU back into the game, scoring the Sun Devil’s next 12 points including a successful four-point play after being fouled on a made three-pointer. That free throw pulled ASU within eight with just over seven minutes left to play.
The Ducks immediately reestablished their dominant lead with an 8-0 run that stretched there lead to 14 and continued to score easily as time winded down. ASU was visibly tired, seemingly both physically and mentally, as they allowed Oregon to basically form a layup line in the painted area.
Oregon outscored ASU 18-5 in the final seven minutes, to seal their victory and end ASU chances at a shocking upset. Graham managed to score the last basket of the game with 18 seconds left to reach his career high 32 points.
Oregon senior guard Dylan Ennis was also hugely important in the Ducks victory, leading both teams in rebounds and assists with 12 and five respectively.
While ASU’s season is likely over unless they secure an invitation to the NIT, Oregon will look to continue their quest for a Pac-12 Tournament title, as they face the winner of Cal versus Utah tomorrow at 6 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.