Oregon men’s basketball defeated Arizona State 79-75 in overtime in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinal, giving the Ducks an opportunity to clinch an NCAA Tournament bid with a victory in the final Saturday night against Washington. The win also extends Oregon’s win streak to seven games.
Oregon and Arizona State went to overtime tied at 67. Arizona State played the superior second half, but the Ducks’ halftime lead and small comeback forced an extra five minutes.
The Ducks set the tone early with a Louis King to Kenny Wooten alley-oop. But moments later, Wooten, Oregon’s best rim protector, fouled out trying to draw a charge.
Two unexpected contributors led Oregon on its offensive end. Senior guard Ehab Amin and freshman center Francis Okoro scored the Ducks’ next seven points, giving Oregon an eight point lead with three minutes left in overtime. On the defensive end, King and Will Richardson each had one steal over that span that led to baskets for Oregon.
Arizona State stormed back. Guard Remy Martin hit two free throws and a fadeaway jumper to cut the lead to four with two minutes left. Payton Pritchard hit a layup but King fouled Rob Edwards on a 3-point attempt, and he made all his free throws.
With the lead at three, Pritchard drove to the basket but he was blocked, only to grab the rebound. He passed it to White, who missed a 3. Arizona State brought the ball down the floor and set a screen at the perimeter for Luguentz Dort, a 30 percent 3-point shooter. The defenders dropped off and Dort launched a 3. It hit the back iron and fell to White, who passed it to King for the game-clinching free throws.
Getting to overtime was a challenge for the Ducks. Oregon took a solid early lead and held a seven point halftime lead. Wooten, King and White all had four blocks in the first half, and the Ducks were in control.
But Arizona State responded and controlled most of the second half. Oregon didn’t hit a field goal from the 19-minute mark to the 12-minute mark. Arizona State was the opposite as Martin took them to the lead. The Sun Devils went on an 18-1 run to take an eight-point lead of its own.
Oregon was down seven points with four minutes left when Pritchard scored two key layups. Both times he drove past defenders to hit the shots. Moments later, White hit a 3 to cut the lead to one. Arizona State hit a jumper, but Amin, a 28 percent 3-point shooter, hit a corner 3 to tie the game at 67.
King finished with 19 points and seven rebounds. White had 14 points and seven boards while Pritchard finished with 18 points and eight assists.
Amin, the sparkplug of the night, had 13 points, six rebounds and three steals.
Oregon will play Washington in the Pac-12 Tournament final in Las Vegas at 7:30 p.m. The Ducks beat Washington in Seattle last week, but lost to the Huskies at home earlier in the season.
Follow Jack Butler on Twitter @Butler917