Ducks start Pac-12 with bang

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington State wasn't too worried about Oregon's Olu Ashaolu going into Thursday's game. The Cougars should have been.

Ashaolu, a transfer from Louisiana Tech, scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the hot-shooting Ducks beat Washington State 92-75 in the Pac-12 Conference opener for both teams.

Ashaolu, who was 9 of 11 from the field, said the difference in this game was moving down low after spending more time on the perimeter in previous games.

"That's what I call home on the basketball court," Ashaolu said.

Oregon shot 69 percent from the field and never trailed in blowing out the Cougars.

"We are playing like it's conference time," Ashaolu said. "Things just took off."

Devoe Joseph added 17 points for Oregon (10-3), which won its fourth straight game. Former South Medford High standout E.J. Singler added 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Ducks.

DaVonte Lacy scored 19 points for Washington State (8-5), which shot 46 percent from the field and saw a six-game winning streak snapped.

Washington State fell behind by 20 at halftime as Oregon shot 71 percent in the first half.

"We are better than that," Cougars coach Ken Bone said. "We know it. Our guys know it."

But Oregon's fast start and hot shooting left the Cougars frustrated, he said.

"That first half, they put on a clinic on offense," Bone said.

"There were times when there was no real (defensive) pressure," he added. "We were not scoring at a very good rate and that translated into poor defense."

Bone said he expected more trouble from Oregon's guards, who lead the team in scoring.

For the game, Oregon was 34 of 49 from the field, including 9 of 16 on 3-pointers. The Ducks outrebounded the Cougars 34-22.

Joseph scored three consecutive baskets as Oregon built a 71-50 lead midway through the second half. At that point the Ducks were shooting 72 percent for the game. The Cougars could not get within single digits the rest of the way.

In the first half, the Ducks jumped to an 18-9 lead behind seven points by Singler. Washington State made just four of its first 14 shots.

Lacy, who had 15 points in the first half, sank three consecutive 3-pointers to get Washington State within 25-18. But Oregon kept up its hot shooting, and a dunk by Ashaolu gave the Ducks a 37-25 lead. Three late 3-pointers by Brett Kingma lifted Oregon to a 54-34 halftime advantage.

Ashaolu had 19 points in the first half as the Ducks made 20 of 28 shots, including 7 of 11 3-pointers. Washington State made just 43 percent of its first-half shots.

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