Photo by Associated Press.
Originally Published: March 9, 2017 11:17 p.m.
LAS VEGAS — Oregon had a hard time stopping Torian Graham in the first half, allowing Arizona State to keep it close. The Ducks still didn’t have an answer for Graham in the second, but they shut down everyone else to earn a spot in the Pac-12 semifinals.
Dillon Brooks scored 22 points, Tyler Dorsey added 21 and No. 5 Oregon pulled away in the second half to beat Arizona State 80-57 Thursday in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
“They’re an elite team and have the type of defense that’s going to keep them in games as they play championship-level basketball,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said.
Oregon (28-4) tightened up defensively after a close first half, holding Arizona State to 8-of-33 shooting in the second. That set up transition baskets and allowed the Ducks to pull away from the eighth-seeded Sun Devils.
Dylan Ennis had a career-high 12 rebounds and five assists for the top-seeded Ducks, who move on to face California in the semifinals Friday night.
“I thought our defensive energy was pretty good,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “They did get a couple good looks, but mostly those were pretty contested shots.”
Arizona State (15-18) matched Oregon almost shot for shot in the first half before succumbing to the Ducks’ length and pressure in the second.
Graham, a senior, had 32 points and made seven 3-pointers, but the rest of the Sun Devils’ starters were a combined 5 for 30 from the floor.
“I don’t really want to talk about points because we lost,” Graham said. “I just want to talk about the team and the things that we can work on as a team or what they could do to move forward. I just try to help the young guys prepare themselves for next year.”
The Ducks were co-champions of the Pac-12 with Arizona, earning the No. 1 seed in the tourney with their victory over the Wildcats in their lone meeting.
Arizona State had given Oregon all it could when it made the trip to Eugene, losing 71-70 in a game that had 15 lead changes and nine ties. The Sun Devils had just six turnovers in that game, but Brooks scored the final 12 points for the Ducks to earn the victory.
Arizona State needed to shoot well in the rematch to have a chance and did just that early on, scoring its first 12 points on 3-pointers. The Sun Devils continued to hang with the Ducks throughout the first half behind Graham, who was 4 of 6 from 3-point range and had 16 points.
Brooks had 11 for Oregon, which led 34-31 at halftime.
The Ducks gained a little separation to start the second half, opening with an 8-2 run.
Oregon got out to Graham much better and hounded the Sun Devils all over the floor, pushing the lead to 45-33 as Arizona State missed 12 of its first 13 shots.
The Sun Devils had one more run to get within eight, thanks to Graham, but Oregon gradually stretched the lead back out.
“We rebounded well. We got defensive stops and we’re going to have to continue doing that throughout the tournament,” Ennis said. “But overall I think we did a great job today.”
Oregon looked every bit the top seed in the conference and a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in the second half, overmatching the Sun Devils at both ends.
Arizona State will have to replace Graham and forward Obinna Oleka next season, but Hurley has a strong recruiting class coming in.
DUCK BLOCK PARTY
Oregon led the nation in blocked shots per game at 6.8 and is closing in on a couple of records.
The Ducks blocked four shots against Arizona State, giving them 216 this season. That’s five from tying the school single-season record and eight from matching the Pac-12 record of 224, set by Washington in 2015-16.
Graham’s seven 3-pointers were the second most in Pac-12 Tournament history and most by an Arizona State player. He finished with 108 3-pointers this season, sixth most in Pac-12 history. UCLA’s Bryce Alford is still active and has 104.
Arizona State’s season is over.
Oregon faces Cal in Friday’s semifinals.