Trying to figure out Arizona State men’s basketball will play on a given night is an impossible task. After a satisfying home sweep over the Bay Area schools that put them squarely back in the most tournament predictions everyone was feeling good.
Surely they would respond with a nice road performance to sure up their postseason prospects? But it rarely goes according to plan with ASU athletics.
Arizona State (19-9, 10-6) was blown out by the Oregon Ducks (16-12, 7-8) in Eugene Thursday night 79-51. It was another night when the offense was ice cold, as they were absolutely flabbergasted by UO’s stingy zone defense.
The Sun Devils bolted out to a quick 5-0 lead before Oregon took control of the contest by getting easy opportunities and putting pressure on their opponent.
The Ducks asserted control of the game late in the first half, and took control for good with a 12-0 run out of the half putting them ahead by 20 points.
Oregon’s defense created a lot of bad shots for ASU’s offense, that had the Sun Devils searching for answers. Nobody could get going offensively for Arizona State as the ball movement was greatly limited due to the aggressive nature of the Ducks’ zone.
Part of the trouble was extended scoring droughts last more than three, five and six minutes during various stretches of the 40 minutes of action. The Sun Devils finished the game shooting 32 percent from the field, and 3-of-24 from three point range equaling a paltry 13 percent.
Redshirt senior forward Zylan Cheatham struggled to get going throughout as he finished with only nine points and four rebounds. Cheatham has been a force on the glass all season, but had trouble asserting himself against the bigs for the Ducks.
Sophomore guard Remy Martin led the Sun Devils in scoring with 13 points and also dished out six assists. However, he shot an inefficient 4-of-14 from the field and an even less inspiring 1-of-7 inside the arc.
Free throw shooting continued to be a sore spot for ASU in the route as they shot 14-of-26 at the line good for only 54 percent.
Junior guard Payton Pritchard played phenomenally scoring 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting while also collecting four rebounds and assists leading the offense.
Freshman wing Louis King led all scorers with 19 points and contributed some thunderous ducks that pleased the Oregon faithful at Matthew Knight Arena.
Arizona State now turns their attention to the Oregon State Beavers who lost a heartbreaker to Arizona earlier tonight on a buzzer beater. Sunday’s matchup will be crucial for second place in the conference standings, and deciding who will be the higher side come conference tournament time in two weeks.
Luckily, given the team’s recent track record, there’s a good indication the team will come out firing looking to put this tough loss behind them. Or else they might be kissing their chance at the big dance goodbye