Arizona State basketball’s comeback falls short in loss to Oregon

Feb 5, 2023, 12:05 AM | Updated: 12:06 am

TEMPE — The Arizona State men’s basketball team needed to sweep the Oregon schools in order to keep pace with others who are on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament.

But unfortunately for ASU (16-8, 7-6 Pac-12), it failed to accomplish that feat on Saturday night with a loss to the Oregon Ducks (14-10, 8-5) at Desert Financial Arena. A victory would have completed the season sweep of the Beaver State schools.

It was a rare off-night for the team’s best scorer in Desmond Cambridge Jr., who failed to get a point until the second half and finished the game with only six on 2-of-8 shooting. Both of his field goals were 3s.

And unfortunately for Arizona State, Cambridge’s final shot — a three-pointer in the dying seconds that would’ve sent the game to overtime — did not fall and led to two Oregon free throws to ice the game at 75-70.

As a team, ASU shot 44% from the field, 33% from deep (8-for-24) and 80% from the free throw line (8-of-10). Compare that to Oregon, who finished the game shooting 47-43-66 and had a second-half offensive explosion of 59% from the floor and an astounding 63% from 3 (5-of-8).

Arizona State led Oregon 30-27 at halftime, but a 14-4 Ducks run to start the second that turned into a 27-13 advantage was all they needed to hold on to the lead despite the Sun Devils battling all the way back to cut the deficit to just one point.

“It was a real battle — two teams were pretty desperate to win,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said postgame. “I think the first eight minutes of the second half cost us.

“They built a lead and we couldn’t overcome it and take the lead back even though guys out there were fighting like heck and scrambling and trying to make plays. We just didn’t defend. … Tough pill to swallow but I appreciated the effort of the guys tonight.”

Both teams’ defenses also caused havoc by creating a total of 31 turnovers, which the Sun Devils led 17-14. However, Oregon was just able to best Arizona State in converting points off those turnovers at a 21-22 clip.

Fouls also had a big factor in the game, as the Sun Devils committed a total of 24 fouls compared to the Ducks’ 13. That caused ASU’s 7-foot center Warren Washington to foul out late in the contest and saw both teams receive technicals, including Hurley. Oregon got to the charity stripe 26 times compared to Arizona State’s 10 attempts.

“I mean it was a circus out there, I’ll just leave it at that. … I liked (Alonzo) Gaffney’s minutes, though,” Hurley said. “For Warren being out, he came in and was really active. We were able to switch everything.

“We started playing defense the way we’re capable of in those minutes, so we overcame that. … So certainly foul trouble impacted the type of lineups that we had out there.”

The Sun Devils were led by DJ Horne, who finished the contest tied for a game-high 18 points on 7-of-17 shooting (41%), including 2-for-7 from three-point range (29%) and 2-of-2 from the free throw line. He also added three assists, four rebounds and three steals in 36 minutes played.

The Sun Devils have now lost five of their last six and appear to be on the outside looking in when it comes to the big dance in March.

And with the gauntlet of No. 5 Arizona, No. 9 UCLA and USC all on the road to end the regular season after facing the Bay Area and mountain schools, winning the Pac-12 Tournament might be the only way Arizona State can make the NCAA Tournament unless they get some real results in those three games.


ASU travels up to the Bay Area to tip off against the Stanford Cardinal on Thursday at 8 p.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and

Arizona State Basketball

Arizona State guard Malachi Davis. (Instagram Photo/@malachiidavis)...
Jake Anderson

Arizona State picks up JUCO guard Malachi Davis in transfer portal

Arizona State men's basketball coach Bobby Hurley got his first domino to fall in the transfer portal on Thursday in JUCO guard Malachi Davis.
2 days ago
Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley, right, and guard Frankie Collins pause near the team bench during...
Jake Anderson

After contract extension, ASU’s Bobby Hurley wasting no time building toward future

ASU men's basketball coach Bobby Hurley has had very little time to celebrate his two-year contract extension through the 2025-26 season.
3 days ago
Arizona State's Austin Nunez (2) pushes away from UCLA's Jaylen Clark (0) during the second half of...
Arizona Sports

ASU freshman Austin Nunez entering transfer portal

Arizona State guard Austin Nunez will enter the transfer portal after playing a reserve role as a freshman for the Sun Devils.
4 days ago
Miles Byrd #21, Demarshay Johnson Jr. #11 and Elijah Saunders #25 of the San Diego State Aztecs run...
Associated Press

San Diego State holds off Creighton to advance to Final Four

SDSU muscled its way into its first Final Four, grinding out a 57-56 victory over Creighton on Sunday in the Elite Eight.
6 days ago
Arizona State quarterback Jaden Rashada. (Instagram Photo/@jadenrashada)...
Arizona Sports

State of the Sun Devils podcast: Could QB Jaden Rashada start for ASU in 2023?

On the latest episode of State of the Sun Devils podcast, the guys broke down ASU's quarterback competition at 2023 spring ball practice.
7 days ago
Florida Atlantic players celebrate after defeating Kansas State in an Elite 8 college basketball ga...
Associated Press

Florida Atlantic punches ticket to Final Four with upset win over Kansas State

Florida Atlantic had never won an NCAA Tournament game prior to this season. Now in its second-ever tourney trip, FAU is Final Four bound.
7 days ago
Arizona State basketball’s comeback falls short in loss to Oregon