TEMPE, Ariz. (AP)—No. 15 Oregon barely survived a slow night on the road in the Pac-10.
Aaron Brooks scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half, including a pair of game-clinching free throws with 3.6 seconds to play, and the Ducks escaped with a 60-55 victory over Arizona State.
“I had to knock down the free throws and get USC off my mind,” said Brooks, who missed a crucial free throw in Oregon’s lone loss of the season, 84-82 to the Trojans a week ago in Eugene.
The Ducks (15-1, 3-1 Pac-10) led by as many as 15 points in the second half before the Sun Devils (6-10, 0-5) rallied to cut it to three.
Oregon averages 82 points a game, but the Ducks had to adjust to the glacial pace preferred by Arizona State.
“I thought the defensive focus and effort by our team holding a high-octane unit like Oregon to 60 points and five 3s was about as much as we could ask,” Sun Devils first-year coach Herb Sendek said. “From a big picture standpoint, I don’t know how many times Oregon will score 60 points this year, so I was very pleased with that.”
Bryce Taylor also scored 16 for Oregon, 12 in the first half. Arizona State’s Jeff Pendergraph had 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. Derek Glasser added 12 points but was only 4-of-14 from the floor.
“We did an incredible job of managing this game tonight, as we have all season,” Oregon coach Ernie Kent said, “and we’ve also done an incredible job of managing our schedule, to pick up these important road wins.”
Had the Sun Devils not misfired on a few open shots down the stretch, it could have been Arizona State’s first victory over a ranked team in 3 1/2 seasons.
Malik Hairston, back after missing five games with a foot injury, scored 13 for the Ducks, who play at No. 10 Arizona on Sunday night.
Brooks made a pair of 3-pointers and 5-foot-6 freshman Tajuan Porter added one in a 12-0 run that put the Ducks ahead 50-35 with 10:53 to play.
The Sun Devils, though, responded with a 14-2 outburst, punctuated by Jerren Shipp’s 3-pointer from the corner that cut Oregon’s lead to 54-51 with 4:14 left.
But Arizona State could get no closer. Taylor’s tip-in with 3:45 to go made it 56-51, then Allen Morill made two free throws to cut it to 56-53.
The Sun Devils had a chance to get within one, but Shipp missed a layup in traffic and Porter made a 15-foot floater and Oregon led 58-53 1:21 from the finish.
Antwi Atuahene’s rebound basket with 57 seconds left cut the lead to 58-55, and the Sun Devils got the ball back after Porter missed a 3. But ASU threw the ball away, and Brooks sealed the victory by making both ends of a one-and-one.
“You want to go out in the open court and make plays, but they (the Sun Devils) do a good job of packing in that zone,” Brooks said. “We didn’t do a good job of attacking the hole, but we got the win and that’s what’s important.”
The game was ragged, especially in the first half.
A total of 10 points were scored—by both teams—in the final 7:35 of the first half.
The Sun Devils went 6 1/2 minutes without a field goal and still trailed only 29-26 when Pendergraph ended the drought with an inside basket with 1:36 left in the half. That was the score at the break.
Hairston had a torn tissue in his left heel. He also missed the first five games of the season with a groin injury.
Taylor was 5-of-6 in the first half.
Arizona State is home Saturday against Oregon State in a matchup of teams still winless in Pac-10 play.