(Photo: Nicole Hernandez/WCSN)
As they have in most, if not all their wins this season, the Arizona State Sun Devils relied on a furious three-point barrage to secure a 81-68 road win against the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis.
The Sun Devils (11-13, 4-7 in in Pac-12) had lost six of their last seven games heading into Saturday’s contest. Meanwhile, the Beavers (4-20, 0-11 in Pac-12) have not beaten a Pac-12 team since they took down the Devils in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament last season.
ASU overwhelmed OSU with its three-point attack, making 13-27 from deep. Both teams took a while to get going, with ASU starting 2-8 from the floor and Oregon State starting 1-6. The Beavers took an early six-point lead, then the Devils proceeded to blow things open.
Junior guard Shannon Evans went on an individual 6-0 run to tie it up. From there, Tra Holder and Kodi Justice each hit a triple, putting ASU ahead. A dunk by Obinna Oleka increased the run for the Devils to 14-0, giving them a lead they never relinquished.
Evans and Torian Graham ended up being the leaders for ASU. Both finished with 21 points, with Evans making 4-8 from deep and Graham 4-9, and all the starters besides Oleka scored in double figures. Arizona State did not have a field goal by a bench player until garbage time, as Ramon Vila had four points on four free throws. Drew Eubanks led the Beavers with 22 points.
The Sun Devils had the lead up to 19 in the first half, overwhelming OSU with 10-17 shooting from deep. After the break, OSU tried to lay the groundwork for a comeback, with the Beavers making 9-13 shots to start the second half. A 9-0 run brought the deficit back to single digits.
The Beavers went in hard to close the gap even further, launching threes from deep at the same frenetic pace of ASU. Their results were not as good. OSU missed seven straight field goals, including five threes, and ASU broadened the gap once again, peaking at 20 around the five minute mark.
OSU’s run was fueled by a string of ASU fouls. The Devils were on the officials’ good side early in the first half, having only one foul by the time OSU had six. In the second half, Arizona State committed 14 of its 20 team fouls. Kodi Justice fouled out late in the second half and freshman Jethro Tshisumpa fouled out in three minutes of game time.
The Beavers finished with 24 fouls of their own, but Sun Devils did not convert from the charity stripe as well as they would like, hitting 66.7 percent of its free throws. ASU also struggled mightily on the boards. Early in the game, OSU had more offensive boards (8) than the Devils had total (7), The battle on the glass finished 43-27 in favor of OSU.
With the volume of threes and the speed the Devils played at, it didn’t matter. ASU forced 18 turnovers while giving up only 8.
While not a marquee victory, the Sun Devils were able to take advantage of a weaker opponent to get back in the win column. With a 1-1 split on the Oregon trip, Arizona State will face Cal in Tempe on Wednesday.