The Sun Devils took on the Arizona Wildcats at the McKale Center in Tucson, and couldn’t match up to the 18th ranked Wildcats in the 73 to 58 loss.
ASU scored first after winning the tip when Jordan Bachynski scored from under the basket, and looked to have something going when Jahii Carson hit a three to make the score 5 to 2, but Arizona put together a run and never relinquished the lead to the visiting Sun Devils Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats took a 15 point lead into the first half, up 40 to 25.
“We let them jump on us in the first half, and that’s definitely what got us. We played well in the second half, but it wasn’t enough,” said senior forward Carrick Felix.
The first half saw each team shoot under 50 percent. Arizona only hit six from long range in the first 20 minutes of play despite 16 attempts, but the Cats were able to nab 7 offensive boards and keep scoring opportunities alive. The Wildcats finished the game with 13 offensive rebounds to ASU’s three, and out-rebounded the Devils 35 to 23 altogether.
Along with ASU’s rebounding in the first half, the team struggled with turnovers. Jahii Carson had four, and the team combined for nine, while Arizona had three as a team. The ball security hit its low in the last 5 seconds when Wildcat Jordin Mayes stole the ball from Carson and drove before being fouled, giving Arizona one final point from the line to end the half. ASU managed to reduce the number of turnovers in the second half to eight, the same number Arizona had in the second 20 minutes of play. Arizona was able to capitalize with 21 points off turnovers to ASUs 13.
The Devils weren’t ready to quit in the second half, bringing the game to within 5 points, in big part due to the Wildcats committing seven fouls in the first three minutes of the half. However, after making it 50-45, Arizona went on a 20-5 run, and things never got close after that. The Wildcats lead by as much as 20 with around three minutes left, and any chance of an ASU comeback ended as the Devils started fouling out, starting with Jonathan Gilling and quickly followed by Bachynski and Chris Colvin.
ASU did shoot well from the field for the game, hitting 47 percent of their shots to Arizona’s 44 percent shooting, but all the scoring came from Carson and Felix. Felix led all scorers with 22 points.
By winning the game, the Wildcats secured the 4th seed heading into the Pac-12 Tournament, and a first-round bye.
The Sun Devils ended the season on a four game losing streak, starting back on February 23rd when the Devils lost to Washington at home. ASU finished the season 9-9 in the conference, and will need to win the Pac-12 Tournament if they want to make it to the NCAA Tournament.