No. 5 Oregon beats Arizona State 80-57 in Pac-12 quarters

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LAS VEGAS (AP) Oregon had a hard time stopping Torian Graham in the first half, allowing Arizona State to keep it close. The Ducks still didn’t have an answer for Graham in the second, but they shut down everyone else to earn a spot in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.

Dillon Brooks scored 22 points, Tyler Dorsey added 21 and No. 5 Oregon pulled away in the second half to beat Arizona State 80-57 Thursday in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals.

“They’re an elite team and have the type of defense that’s going to keep them in games as they play championship-level basketball,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said.

Oregon (28-4) tightened up defensively after a close first half, holding Arizona State to 8-of-33 shooting in the second. That set up transition baskets and allowed the Ducks to pull away from the eighth-seeded Sun Devils.

Dylan Ennis had a career-high 12 rebounds and five assists for the top-seeded Ducks, who move on to face the winner between California and Utah in the semifinals Friday night.

“I thought our defensive energy was pretty good,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “They did get a couple good looks, but mostly those were pretty contested shots.”

Arizona State (15-18) matched Oregon almost shot for shot in the first half before succumbing to the Ducks’ length and pressure in the second.

Graham, a senior, had 32 points and made seven 3-pointers, but the rest of the Sun Devils’ starters were a combined 5 for 30 from the floor.

“I don’t really want to talk about points because we lost,” Graham said. “I just want to talk about the team and the things that we can work on as a team or what they could do to move forward. I just try to help the young guys prepare themselves for next year.”

The Ducks were co-champions of the Pac-12 with Arizona, earning the No. 1 seed in the tourney with their victory over the Wildcats in their lone meeting.

Arizona State had given Oregon all it could when it made the trip to Eugene, losing 71-70 in a game that had 15 lead changes and nine ties. The Sun Devils had just six turnovers in that game, but Brooks scored the final 12 points for the Ducks to earn the victory.

Arizona State needed to shoot well in the rematch to have a chance and did just that early on, scoring its first 12 points on 3-pointers. The Sun Devils continued to hang with the Ducks throughout the first half behind Graham, who was 4 of 6 from 3-point range and had 16 points.

Brooks had 11 for Oregon, which led 34-31 at halftime.

The Ducks gained a little separation to start the second half, opening with an 8-2 run.

Oregon got out to Graham much better and hounded the Sun Devils all over the floor, pushing the lead to 45-33 as Arizona State missed 12 of its first 13 shots.

The Sun Devils had one more run to get within eight, thanks to Graham, but Oregon gradually stretched the lead back out.

“We rebounded well. We got defensive stops and we’re going to have to continue doing that throughout the tournament,” Ennis said. “But overall I think we did a great job today.”

BIG PICTURE

Oregon looked every bit the top seed in the conference and a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in the second half, overmatching the Sun Devils at both ends.

Arizona State will have to replace Graham and forward Obinna Oleka next season, but Hurley has a strong recruiting class coming in.

DUCK BLOCK PARTY

Oregon led the nation in blocked shots per game at 6.8 and is closing in on a couple of records.

The Ducks blocked four shots against Arizona State, giving them 216 this season. That’s five from tying the school single-season record and eight from matching the Pac-12 record of 224, set by Washington in 2015-16.

GRAHAM’S TREYS

Graham’s seven 3-pointers were the second most in Pac-12 Tournament history and most by an Arizona State player. He finished with 108 3-pointers this season, sixth most in Pac-12 history. UCLA’s Bryce Alford is still active and has 104.

UP NEXT

Arizona State’s season is over.

Oregon faces the winner between Cal and Utah in Friday’s semifinals.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.