Coming off of what was arguably the team’s most impressive win of the season against Colorado, the Sun Devils will look to remain hot as they take on the Oregon State Beavers tonight.
The Sun Devils’ (13-2, 2-0 Pac-12) staunch second half was the difference-maker in their 65-56 win over Colorado on Sunday. The Beavers (10-4, 0-1 Pac-12), on the other hand, are fresh off of a 79-66 loss to instate rival Oregon.
ASU’s win over Colorado definitely gives this team some legitimacy, since Colorado had the nation’s sixth-best RPI going into the game. The maroon and gold found themselves down 20-7 at one point in the first half, but they were able to slowly but surely chip away at the lead. Guard Chris Colvin was the catalyst for the comeback in the first half. His dribble penetration, as well as some well-placed passes, gave the Colorado defense trouble.
Guard Carrick Felix and center Jordan Bachynski were also instrumental in the win. Felix had 20 points and Bachynski added 16 points and nine blocks. Both players had a very physical game, neither afraid to dive for balls, or finish strong at the hoop.
On the flip side, the Beavers were unable to stop a late game run by Oregon, and consequently they suffered their first conference loss of the season. Guards Ahmad Starks and Roberto Nelson both finished with 22- and 18-point performances, respectively. However, it was the team’s inability to contain Oregon guard Damyean Dotson that cost them the game.
In order for ASU to win this game, they will have to take advantage of Bachynski’s size advantage over Beaver center Joe Burton. If point guard Jahii Carson can dish it to Bachynski early, that will open up the perimeter for ASU’s sharpshooters. Jonathan Gilling, Evan Gordon, Carson, and Felix can all drain threes, and that will be tough for the Beavers to defend.
For Oregon State, it is simple. They have to be able to outrebound the Sun Devils. In both of ASU’s losses this season the team has been outrebounded by a combined 18 rebounds. Offensive rebounds will be key for the Beavers in wearing down Bachynski’s presence inside.
Tip-off will be at 8:30 local time in Corvallis, OR.