Eugene, OR– The Oregon Ducks (20-8, 8-8 Pac-12) close their regular season with games against the Arizona schools, starting tonight with Arizona State (21-8, 10-6 Pac-12). Oregon is on the NCAA Tournament bubble and needs at least a spilt this week to stay on the right side of the bubble as they head into the Pac-12 tournament next week.
They earned a least a split in winning their sixth game in a row. Oregon played an efficient game on both ends of the court in topping Arizona State 85-78 behind 22 points and 17 rebounds from Mike Moser. Oregon won the rebounding battle 40-33 and out-shot the Sun Devils 47 to 38 percent.
The Ducks made it clear that they realized how important this game was to then as they came out of the gates and scored the first 15 points of the contest, hitting three 3-pointers with two by Damyean Dotson (15 points). The Sun Devils came right back, scoring the next 11 points and showing that there was a lot of game to play. Oregon played solid defense through much of the half and showed some toughness on the boards as they took a 33-25 lead into halftime. The Ducks out-rebounded the taller Sun Devils 20-17 while holding Arizona State to 30.8 percent from the field. 6’11 center Waverly Austin had his best half as a Ducks with eight rebounds, three blocked shots and a three-point play off an offensive rebound in 13 minutes of action. Austin had ten rebounds and five blocked shots in the game.
Oregon continued to play aggressively as the second half got underway with Jason Calliste (16 points) and Dotson hitting three-pointers as the Ducks maintained an 8-12 point lead through the first eight minutes of the half. A three-pointer and lay-in from Joseph Young (13 points) extended Oregon’s lead back to ten (69-59) with 4:52 left after the Sun Devils has cut the lead to four points on several occasions. Moser then hit a corner jumper to extend the lead to 12. Oregon coasted from there to the 7-point victory.
Mike Moser has played his best ball of the season recently. He was named the Pac-12 player of the week after scoring 32 points and grabbing 32 rebounds in Oregon’s two wins in Los Angeles last week and now has 54 points and 49 rebounds over his last three games. He’s showing much improved lift and seems to be regaining his game of two years ago at UNLV when he was looked at as a possible NBA Draft pick. Moser was solid again tonight with his third double-double in a row and was really hustling down the court throughout his 28 minutes of action.
Arizona State’s Jahii Carson (28 points, one assist) is generally thought of as a second round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft if he comes out after his sophomore year. Carson is one of the quickest point guards in college, but he is listed at 5’10” and would likely measure out at under 5’9″. His shooting, particularly from long distance, needs improvement and consistency (he was only shooting 27 percent on three’s in Pac-12 play but was 4-of-5 tonight) and he tends to over-penetrate and is turnover prone (almost 4 per game). He only has a 1:1 assist/turnover ratio in Pac-12 play. While we like Carson for his speed and his ability to get past his defender, another year of school will make him more likely to be selected in the first round of next year’s NBA Draft.
7’2 Jordan Bachynski (13 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks) has played himself into a second round pick in this year’s draft. Bachynski can block shots (128 in 30 games), can rebound (8.5 pg) and has shown improvement on offense (11.3 ppg). If a player can do one thing really well he’s got a chance, and Bachynski is the best rim protector in college this season.
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