GAME NOTES: The Arizona State Sun Devils venture out on the road for their final two games of the season, beginning with a critical Pac-12 Conference contest against the Oregon Ducks at Matthew Knight Arena.
Arizona State earned its 21st win of the season on Saturday with a 78-60 thumping of California. The Sun Devils have won five of their last seven games and are currently in third place in the Pac-12 standings, with a 10-6 mark. They finish the regular season against Oregon State.
Oregon's resurgence of late continued on Saturday as the team collected a 78-63 victory over USC. The win was the fifth straight for the Ducks, who are seventh in the Pac-12 (8-8), but they own a strong 20-8 record overall, with a major test against Arizona scheduled for the season finale.
Jordan Bachynski rejected a last-second shot from Joseph Young to allow Arizona State to escape with a 74-72 victory over Oregon earlier this season. The Ducks had won the previous three meetings, but the Sun Devils lead the all-time series, 42-35.
Jermaine Marshall rattled in six 3-pointers and finished with 22 points to carry the Sun Devils past California on Saturday. Arizona State only shot 33.3 percent from the field in the first half, but it pulled away in the second half when it knocked down 69 percent, including 6-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Although they earned an easy win, the Sun Devils did not get a very strong effort from leading scorer Jahii Carson (18.4 ppg, 4.6 apg). Carson had only nine points in what could have possibly been his final home game as a Sun Devil. He has finished outside of double figures in two of the last three games. Luckily for Arizona State, Marshall (15.7 ppg) has the range and shooting touch to carry the offense himself. Bachynski (11.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 4.2 bpg) is the third part of a strong core for the Sun Devils. The 7-foot-2 center is solid offensively, but he is more important on defense as he leads the nation in blocks.
Mike Moser scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead four players in double figures in Oregon's recent win over USC. The Ducks claimed a 35-26 edge on the glass, while shooting a respectable 45.5 percent from the floor.
Putting points on the board has been no problem for Oregon this season. The Ducks are second in the Pac-12 and 10th nationally in scoring (82.8 ppg), although they are only shooting at a 46.7 percent clip. Young (18.8 ppg) headlines the scoring efforts, shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from 3-point range. Moser (13.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg) finishes well around the rim and also leads the team on the glass. Providing additional help at the offensive end are Jason Calliste (12.2 ppg) and Damyean Dotson (10.2 ppg), while Johnathan Loyd (7.2 ppg, 5 apg) runs the show from the point.
After struggling through the middle part of the schedule, Oregon has finally begun to look like the team that was once nationally ranked. The Ducks have always played well at home (!3-3) and they should stay hot, albeit in a tight decision.
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