Arizona State desperately needed a jolt of life in their season. Herb Sendek opted to start freshman Kodi Justice over junior JUCO transfer Gerry Blakes in an attempt to stunt the Sun Devils turnover woes so far in the 2014-15 season.
The move almost worked, but ASU couldn't quite pull out their first road win of the season Saturday afternoon in Eugene, losing to the Oregon Ducks 59-56.
The first half was marked with back and forth action. Neither team could gain an edge and the maroon and gold once again struggled from deep, opening the game 1 of 5 from beyond. While Oregon had nine turnovers early, ASU was unable to take advantage. The Sun Devils finally made a 6-0 run midway through the first half of action to break away but the Ducks pulled back within a point and took a 21-20 lead with 2:26 to play in the first half. Oregon took a 25-23 lead into the half.
After both teams accumulated a total of 22 fouls in the first half which would play a large role in the second period. Eric Jacobsen and Savon Goodman both picked up their fourth foul while freshman Jordan Bell fouled out with eight points. Oregon maintained its lead until a Jacobsen layup at 16:03 in the second half gave ASU a 32-31 lead. The Sun Devils took the lead again with a Shaquielle McKissic three pointer at the 10:08 mark. ASU took its biggest lead of the second half 51-47 with 4:23 to play when Jon Gilling hit a trey of his own.
ASU lost the lead again on a Joseph Young three with under four minutes to play but McKissic gave the maroon and gold the lead back with 2:26 to play after two free throws. Oregon came back again and sealed its victory with a 6-1 run over the last 1:48.
The Sun Devils remain winless on the road and fall to 0-3 in conference play. ASU once again struggled from the three point line, shooting just 18 percent (3 of 17) from beyond. The maroon and gold won the battle on the boards but once again were plagued by 15 turnovers. Shaquielle McKissic led ASU with 18 points and 4 rebounds. Jacobsen had 13 points and 3 boards. Joseph Young led the Ducks with 16 points and 3 rebounds.
Next up for ASU is their first conference home game at Wells Fargo Arena against Utah next Thursday, Jan. 15. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and will tip off at 8 p.m. MT.