With a less than a minute to go, it was a one point ball game. The Ducks were fighting for an advantage as the clock ticked away. ASU was every bit as good as we thought. Then, the Ducks got a small lead. A three by Jahii Carson would have tied it with sixteen seconds left. Instead, he missed, Emory got fouled, went two for two, and the Ducks were up 67-62 for their last time out.
Arizona State tried to get it down and score in a hurry with ten seconds. Carson hit a deep, deep three (from 24 feet away) and again, it was a nail biter and a two point game. ASU got their 10th foul of the night on EJ Singler, not a guy you want on the line if you're a Sun Devil.
First one good. Next one missed. The only free throw a Duck missed all night. Carrick Felix tried to tie it up with one last three-pointer. No good.
Ducks win 68-65, putting them 3-0 in conference play and lead the Pac-12 standings.
When it came down to the wire, "Coach said we had to pick it up on defense, get rebounds and stop Jahii Carson. We had to stop him from driving to the basket," said Carlos Emory.
Free throws made the difference in the game. Ducks were 14-15, while ASU was 5-9.
EJ Singler was 5-6 from the free throw line. Carlos Emory went 2-2. Kazemi, 3-3. Woods, 4-4. In a game where Coach Altman called his team out for not being sharp, those were numbers with an edge.
"We are fortunate on a night when nothing seemed to click, we found a way to win. I'm pleased with the way we hit free throws. I'm pleased with the way we turned around the rebounds down the stretch. None more important that Arsalan's putback."
The Ducks out rebounded the Sun Devils 32 to 29, with a majority of those in the second half.
"Usually we go up against teams that are quick to get shots up. Today we won on the boards. We made sure we got the rebounds we needed," Emory said.
Damyean Dotson led the Ducks with 14 points and 4 rebounds. Dominic Artis had 10 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds.
In the first nine minutes of the game, the Ducks struggled, but after Coach Altman finally called a time out, they went on to outscore ASU 21-9 in last 11 ½ minutes of the half. It was a low-scoring first half, with solid defense from both teams.
The Ducks entered the second half with the lead, but sloppy play often put that in jeopardy, and the teams traded buckets throughout.
Yes, the Ducks won after hanging by a thread in the final minute, much like they did Thursday night against the Wildcats. But this was not the same team that played at Matt Court on that fateful night. The Ducks were fighting hard, but this time they weren't fighting against a top five opponent. They were fighting against themselves. Fighting to find rhythm. Fighting to find balance, focus.
But Tony Woods didn't see it that way. "I thought we played consistently in both (halves). I'm sorry.... I don't know how to answer your question."
Surely, there are question still surrounding this team. They may not have to answer all of them for their next road test against USC, but they certainly must respond by Saturday at UCLA against a very good Bruins squad.
OFFICIAL GAME NOTES
Tony Woods scored 14 points for Oregon, including the go-ahead dunk in the final minutes, as the Ducks held on to defeat Arizona State 68-65 on Sunday night.
Damyean Dotson and Carlos Emory scored 14 points apiece for Oregon (14-2, 3-0 Pac-12), and Dominic Artis added 10.
Jahii Carson scored 20 points, and Evan Gordon had 17 for the Sun Devils (14-3, 3-1).
Carson's potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer was wide.
A 3-pointer by Felix with 2:08 to play put Arizona State up 60-59, but Woods answered for the Ducks with a two-handed slam to give Oregon a 61-60 advantage with 1:44 remaining.
Oregon went 7 of 8 from the free-throw line in the final minute to seal the win.
The Ducks used a 7-2 run in the final 3 minutes of the first half to lead 32-28 at halftime.
• Current Home-Court Winning Streaks:
1. Syracuse, 34
2. Kansas, 30
3. South Dakota State, 25
4. Colorado State, 22
5. Southern Mississippi, 21
6. Oregon, 18
6. Marquette, 18
6. Indiana, 18
9. Detroit, 17
• Oregon moves to a perfect 12-0 at Matthew Knight Arena, its best start at home since 2001-02.
• The Ducks have defeated the Sun Devils three straight times.
• Freshman Damyean Dotson has now scored in double figures 10 times this season.
• With Sunday’s victory, Oregon has beaten Arizona and Arizona State in the same season for the fifth time in the last eight years (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2011-12, 2012-13).
• Oregon is 13-0 in games where it has led at halftime.
• UO is now 7-1 when wearing white uniforms.
• The Ducks have now held six opponents to under 30 points in the first half this season after heading into the break with a 32-28 lead on Sunday night.
• Oregon’s record with E.J. Singler, Emory, Woods, Artis and Dotson in the starting lineup is now 3-0.
• Oregon’s all-time record against Arizona State under Dana Altman: 3-2