TEMPE, Ariz.: Eugene Omoruyi had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Duarte added 18 points and Oregon outlasted shorthanded Arizona State 75-64 on Thursday night.
The Ducks (11-4, 6-3 Pac-12) shook off some early offensive struggles with a big run late in the first half and stretched the lead to 16 early in the second to keep themselves in the Pac-12 race.
The Sun Devils (6-9, 3-6) were missing two key players, lost their leading scorer early in the second half and had a hard time finding an offensive rhythm after returning from their second COVID-19 pause.
Arizona State used a late run to pull within seven before running out of steam to lose for the seventh time in nine games. Remy Martin led the Sun Devils with 30 points, but hobbled leading scorer Josh Christopher (back) had no points in 17 minutes.
Both teams are trying to get back on track after twice being hit with COVID-19 issues.
The Ducks played one game in three weeks before returning to split against the Pac-12’s Washington schools last week.
The Sun Devils were back after their second coronavirus pause cost them two games, but were missing wing Marcus Bagley and forward Chris Osten to ankle injuries. Forward Taeshon Cherry also missed his eighth straight game due to personal reasons, leaving the Sun Devils with eight scholarship players.
The players who were on the floor for Arizona State struggled to get shots to fall. The Sun Devils had a scoreless drought of more than seven minutes and went 3 for 14 from 3 in the first half.
The Ducks missed numerous shots at the rim early before going on an 11-0 run to go up 11. Duarte was the catalyst after missing the previous game with an ankle injury, scoring 18 points to give Oregon a 35-28 halftime lead.
The Ducks hit six of their first eight shots to open the second half, stretching the lead to 49-33. Christopher went to the bench after two minutes and didn’t return, but the Sun Devils showed some late life, using a 13-3 run to pull within 65-58.
They never got any closer, walking off their home floor with another difficult loss.
Oregon got a big lift from Duarte’s return in the first half and held off the Sun Devils’ comeback attempt to win for the second time in three games since returning from its second COVID-19 pause.
Arizona State has yet to play a game with its full roster this season and the absences are taking a toll in what was supposed to be a season of contending for the Pac-12 title.
Oregon plays at Arizona on Saturday.
Arizona State hosts Oregon State Sunday.
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