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ASU Men’s Basketball: A hot first half of offense sparks the Sun Devils over Oregon State

(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)


Hot shooting gave the Arizona State Sun Devils their third conference win after a 73-55 beat-down against the Oregon State Beavers in Wells Fargo Arena.

The Sun Devils came out on fire in the first half. Freshman point guard Tra Holder particularly was aggressive on the offensive end, knocking down a couple of shots from deep to spark the offense.

Holder wasn’t the only one to find his stroke. With 15 minutes left in the first half a Holder three triggered a back-to-back-to-back Holder-Gilling-Barnes barrage from beyond the arc to catapult the team up 16-10 within a minute.

“I think (Holder) is really learning how to work,” ASU head coach Herb Sendek said. “He’s putting in extra time after practice, his confidence is growing, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s really growing and he’s really playing excellent basketball for us.”

An acrobatic reverse layup by Oregon State’s Gary Payton II momentarily shifted the momentum toward the Beavers, eliciting a miss from a wide-open Gilling and then drawing a Savon Goodman foul. However, once ASU regained its stroke on two Shaquielle Mckissic three-point plays and a pair of shots from Barnes, the Sun Devils went on a 20-8 run over 10 minutes to put the team up 30-18 with five minutes left in the half.

“I think when we follow the coaches plan on defense and we move the ball like we were on offense we could beat any team in the Pac-12,” Barnes said.

The Sun Devils shot 46 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point land before going into the locker room riding a 40-23 lead.

ASU cooled off a little bit at the start of the second half as fouls and turnovers tapered its rhythm. Both teams put up a weaker defense, while both offenses remained hot. This allowed each team to keep increasing its lead, but because Oregon State was unable to get a stop, they could never wane its 20-point deficit.

“They (Oregon State) have a tremendous capacity to get 50/50 balls, that’s what they do, and I thought we did a much better job at that tonight,” Sendek said.

Player of the Game: Tra Holder

Holder was the jumper cables for Arizona State tonight. When the team looked as if it was about to stall, Holder would sink another three or deal out another assist. The point guard catalyzed the team’s power from beyond the arc and ended the night on 10 points with four assists.

Stat of the Game: ASU outrebounding Oregon State (+13)

The Sun Devils dominated the boards tonight. In games where turnovers are a concern, it is important to be able to cash in on those offensive rebounds with second-chance points. ASU did that tonight, adding 14 points off second-chances.

Biggest Concern: 13 Oregon State points off 14 ASU Turnovers

It’s plain and simple: ASU needs to stop turning over the ball. It may sound like a broken record, but in a game that is not a 30-point blowout, 13 points will easily hand the opponent the game.

What’s next?

The Sun Devils will take on the Oregon Ducks on Friday in Wells Fargo Arena. The Pac-12 Networks will be broadcasting the game.

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