Arizona State found out firsthand why Payton Pritchard is a leading candidate to win Pac-12 Player of the Year.
The senior point guard scored 29 points, dished out six assists and grabbed three rebounds to lead the Ducks to a 78-69 win over the Sun Devils inside Matthew Knight Arena Saturday night.
With the win, Oregon moved to 14-3 overall and 3-1 in conference action. ASU fell to 10-6 overall and 1-2 in Pac-12 play. The loss also denied the Sun Devils their first road sweep since the conference expanded in 2010.
It wasn’t just the Pritchard show as Chris Duarte scored 20 points with the help of four treys. Pritchard also nailed six shots from long range. As a team, the Ducks shot 12-of-29 from beyond the arc.
They were especially hot from the three-point line in the first half. Pritchard sank five threes before halftime as Oregon built a 40-31 lead at the break.
Arizona State’s Remy Martin wasn’t to be outdone by Pritchard as he also scored 29 points. But Martin’s supporting cast wasn’t quite as good as Pritchard’s however. Rob Edwards was the only other Sun Devil in double figures with 11 points.
Despite not receiving a lot of help, Martin kept his team within shouting distance and ASU was down just five at 65-60 with 4:38 left. But every time Martin would hit a three, Pritchard seemed to have the answer on the other end of the floor.
Pritchard’s traditional three-point play extended the Oregon lead back up to eight at 68-60, but ASU wouldn’t go away. Martin’s lay-in with 1:42 made it 72-67. That would be as close as they would get.
ASU was down six and had a chance for a defensive rebound with 40 seconds left, but after a missed Will Richardson three, Duarte kept the ball alive and found Shakur Juiston all alone under the hoop for an easy hoop to make it 77-69 and to ice the game.
Juiston just missed a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Ducks will now travel north to the Washington schools next week with a date with the Cougars on Thursday and then the Huskies on Saturday. Both of those team are struggling. Both are 1-3 in conference play after being swept in the Bay Area. WSU is 10-7 overall and Washington is 11-6 overall.
Oregon and Washington State are scheduled for a 6 pm tip in the Palouse on Fox Sports 1.
~ Don Smalley