Ducks

Oregon Ducks withstand late-Arizona State rally for key road win

Ducks

Despite a late rally by the Sun Devils, the Ducks took care of business Thursday evening.

The Oregon Ducks (11-4, 6-3) defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils (6-9, 3-6), 75-64, for a key road victory Thursday evening in Tempe, Arizona. 

It was the first game all season the Ducks had its five leading scorers play in the same game: Chris Duarte, Eugene Omoruyi, Will Richardson, Eric Williams Jr., and LJ Figueroa. The five players combined for 67 of the Ducks' 75 points. 

So far, the Ducks have been hampered by COVID-19 issues with ESPN's bracketology ranking Oregon as one of the "Last Four-In" but when healthy, Oregon should be a ranked team. 

Now that the Ducks are finding its groove, Oregon could be a dangerous team in March. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent]

Here are the key takeaways from Thursday's win. 

The Good

Oregon is one of the Pac-12's best

Thursday was the first game all season Oregon had its "March Madness" rotation and it held a 17-point lead on the road against a team with preseason Final Four hopes. While the Sun Devils clearly are not of that caliber, the talent is still there and Oregon clearly looked superior in every facet of the game. 

 

With Oregon's top-five leading scorers available Thursday, it shot a lot of three-pointers at a respectable clip of 40%. That's exactly how the Ducks can steal some wins in the NCAA Tournament or even win the Pac-12. 

Is that a Dana Altman team about to peak in March we see? Yes. 

Chris Duarte is a stud.

Entering the contest, Chris Duarte ranked second in the Pac-12 in scoring per game and he showed why Thursday, torching Arizona State.

The senior hit his first five shots and ended the first half with 18 points on 7-9 from the field while dealing with a right ankle injury that kept him out the past two games. 

With the game tied at 19, Duarte helped fuel a Ducks 11-0 run to force a Sun Devils timeout. 

The Bad

Oregon almost blew it.

With a 17 point lead, the Sun Devils went on a 10-0 run late in the contest to make it a game late. However, Dana Altman called timeout, calmed down his players and Eugene Omoruyi went on a 5-0 run himself to restore order.

That response was good to see, but it should have not have come to that, either. 

The Highlight

UNLV transfer Amauri Hardy got three-points the hard way in the second half.

The Stat

Oregon out-assisted Arizona State 22-13. 

The Quote

"It was good to get everyone back out there tonight, but I feel like we've still only scratched the surface. There's so much more there." - Dana Altman

The Next Game

Oregon will play Arizona (14-6, 8-6) on Saturday, February 13th at 11:00 a.m. PT on ESPN2.