Arizona State’s basketball season came to a disappointing end Thursday night as Cameron Ridley’s lay-up at the buzzer propelled Texas to a dramatic, back-and-forth 87-85 win in the second round of the midwest region in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. ASU finishes the season 21-12, while Texas improves to 24-10. The Longhorns will play second-seeded Michigan on Saturday.
“We’ve been down double-digits in the second half and they’ve rallied to make good comebacks,” said said ASU Head Coach Herb Sendek. “Right now, I can tell you, they are a very emotional heart broken group right now.”
Here’s five things we learned from the game.
1. Texas Hold ‘Em: The normally poor-shooting ‘Horns shot nearly 60% from the field in the first half and finished at 52% overall. The Sun Devils were victimized throughout the night by poor transition defense or lack or recognition allowing UT open looks late in the shot clock. Five of Ridley’s game-high 12 rebounds were offensive, including the one which ended the Devils season.
“I know our defense could have been better, but both teams were making shots,” mentioned Sendek. “Even sometimes if you have a defensive lapse or a breakdown, the let you off the hook and miss a shot. You got to credit both teams with really shooting the basketball very well tonight.”
2. Guard(ian) Angels: The Texas backcourt of sophomore Demarcus Holland and freshman Isaiah Taylor combined for 25 points on 11-18 shooting from the field. The duo committed just three turnovers. Senior Jermaine Marshall had a nice bounce back game with 17 points and seven rebounds but Jahii Carson struggled making just six of 16 shots and committing six turnovers.
“Very happy and pleased with my career at Arizona State,” explained Carson who’s Sun Devil career could have come to an end on Thursday. “I’ve had great mentors, people to help guide me, just not in the basketball aspect of my life, but outside, my personal life…I look back at it and I have no regrets.”
3. No Seventh Heaven: ASU’s road/neutral game issues continued dropping their seventh-straight game away from Tempe. Their last win away from Wells Fargo Arena was at Cal in overtime back on January 29. They managed only five total wins off their home court all season.
4. Tower of Power: Senior Jordan Bachynski narrowly missed swatting away Ridley’s game-winner but ended his Sun Devil career scoring a game-high 25 points and grabbing seven boards. His year-by-year improvement will go down as one of the greatest in ASU basketball history. He leaves as the Pac-12’s all-time leading shot blocker.
“I was just going to go out there and work as hard as I could and do what I could for my team,” stated Bachynski after the game. “It was a tough one. Over the next few weeks, I guess I will have time to reflect, but I’m not there yet.”
5. Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Shaq McKissic, Bachynski, Marshall and likely sophomore Carson played their final game in maroon and gold. Herb Sendek’s team will have a much different, younger and likely less talented team next season. The foursome above combined to average 53 points, over 20 rebounds and nine assists per game. Their leadership and grit will be missed just as much as their production on the floor.
“I think our guys had a really good season,” said Sendek. “Obviously, they’re going to realize that once the emotion subsides. But our guys had a really good basketball season, and I think, you know, our basketball program has a lot of positive momentum.”