(Photo: Nicole Hernandez/WCSN)
Even with one of their best defensive performances of the season, the Sun Devils couldn’t pull off a late comeback, losing a 71-70 heartbreaker to number 13 Oregon in Eugene.
The first half was a back and forth affair, with neither team able to get anything going. ASU (10-13) locked down Oregon for the majority of the first 20, but the Ducks didn’t help themselves with poor shooting even when they had easy looks at the rim.
The Sun Devils didn’t do much better offensively, but junior guard Shannon Evans II managed to score on a consistent basis, keeping ASU in the affair.
Evans scored 11 of ASU’s 28 first half points and had a game-high total of 28 points. Evans scored the Sun Devils last seven points going into the break, finishing the half with a crafty layup and giving ASU a 28 to 25 lead.
However, matching him seemingly point for point on the other side for Oregon (20-3) was star junior forward Dillon Brooks. Brooks had 27 points on the game and exploded in the second half, scoring 21 of his 27 in the final frame. He also had six rebounds and led the team with four assists to boot.
The Ducks needed a strong performance from Brooks as the only other player to score in double figures for Oregon was junior forward Jordan Bell, who had just 13 points.
A jumper by Brooks with 53 seconds left put Oregon up by five and ASU was forced to call a timeout. A layup by Evans cut the deficit to three and a tip in by senior Torian Graham with two seconds left pulled the Sun Devils within one.
Despite the near comeback, there just wasn’t enough time left for ASU as the Ducks were able to run out the clock and sneak away with the one-point victory.
This was ASU’s sixth loss in seven games, in what has been a brutal start to their Pac-12 schedule.
They will look to change the trends against their next opponent, Oregon State. ASU faces off against the Beavers on Saturday at 4 p.m. on the Pac-12 network.