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Oregon shows flexibility, grinding out win at Arizona St.

Jan 12, 2007 - 8:29 AM TEMPE, Arizona (Ticker) -- Aaron Brooks and Oregon usually like to push the pace, but they displayed the ability to also win in a grind.

Brooks scored 11 of his 16 points in the second as the No. 17 Ducks held on for a 60-55 Pac-10 Conference victory at Arizona State.

Entering the contest as the conference's third-highest scoring team with 81.9 points per game, Oregon (15-1, 3-1 Pac-10) found itself in a battle as it led just 29-26 at the half despite shooting 50 percent (11-of-22).

"I thought our team took another very positive step tonight," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "I was very pleased with our defensive play tonight. Oregon came into the game averaging 82 points a game, averaging nine made threes a game. Holding a high-octane unit like Oregon to 60 points and five threes was about as much as we could ask."

"They slowed the game down and played zone which is tough to crack sometimes," Oregon forward Bryce Taylor said. "We just tried to get in the middle and make things happen there."

Brooks was not one of the Oregon players that shot well in the first half, mustering just five points on 2-of-6 from the field. However, the senior guard hit his stride in a crucial stretch in the second half, sinking two 3-pointers and scoring seven points during a 12-0 spurt that put his club ahead, 50-35, with 10:56 remaining.

But the pesky Sun Devils (12-3, 3-2) would not go away quietly, closing within 52-48 with 5:26 to play as freshman Jerren Shipp's two free throws capped an 11-0 run.

"They made the 11-0 run when they started to getting to the glass and got inside the zone a bit," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said.

The Ducks battled right back, grabbing two offensive rebounds on their next possession before Malik Hairston was fouled and converted two free throws with 4:46 left.

Shipp answered with a 3-pointer, but Taylor pulled down another offensive board and hit a layup to make it 56-51 with 3:46 remaining.

"We hit some big shots down the stretch to (keep) us ahead," Taylor said. "We knew they would slow the game down, we just had to beat them at their own game."

"The one dimension that prevented us from taking it a step further was (that) we gave up a couple of second-chance possessions," Sendek said.

Brooks finished 5-of-12 from the field with three 3-pointers and handed out five assists as the Ducks improved to 4-0 on the road this season.

Last season, Oregon went just 3-9 in road games, including 3-6 in the Pac-10.

"It is our fourth road win and we have a neutral-court win, we are undefeated away from home, what a turnaround from last year," Kent said. "Right now, we are 6-1 in close games."

Taylor also had 16 points and Hairston added 13 and eight rebounds for Oregon, which held a 29-28 edge on the boards. Hairston was playing in his first game after missing the previous five with a foot injury.

Jeff Pendergraph finished with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting and pulled down eight boards for Arizona State, which finished with one more turnover (12) than assists (11).