LAS VEGAS — One again, there was no luck in ‘Sin City’ for the Arizona State men’s basketball team who stumbled out of the gate and never recovered losing to Oregon State 75-66 in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. ASU falls to 15-17. The Beavers improved to 19-11 and will face Cal in the late game Thursday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Here are five things we learned Wednesday night.
1. Leaving Las Vegas…Late in the Las Vegas night Bobby Hurley learned what Rob Evans and Herb Sendek experienced during their tenures in Tempe–this tournament has been unkind to the maroon and gold. Since 1999, ASU is now just 3-14 in the Pac-12 tourney. The Beavers improved to 7-12.
2. Eager Beavers…Hurley’s team had no one to blame but themselves for a slow start which saw OSU jump out to a quick 9-2 lead as they cruised to a nine-point halftime advantage. Hard to imagine what the deficit would have been if the Beavers didn’t shoot just 33% (10-30) from the field. The Devils, who never led in the game, made just 7-26 shots (26.9%) before intermission and missed six first-half free throws. “I don’t think it’s possible to match the energy Oregon State had at the beginning of the game,” Hurley said outside the Sun Devil locker room. “Our offense was very bad.” ASU was a paltry 1-11 on three’s. Forward Savon Goodman (eight points, 4-5 FG’s) was the lone bright spot.
3. Tra Went Away…It’s hard to beat a quality team like Oregon State when your top scorer is hampered with foul problems and overall ineffectiveness as was the case with sophomore point guard Tra Holder. Coming in averaging 14.3 per game, the Los Angeles native made just 4-11 shots, finishing with 10 mostly garbage points with game out of reach late. “I can’t put my finger on it,” Hurley said of his floor general. “He wasn’t himself out there, very quiet.” It was a disappointing ending for one of the conference’s most improved players and was punctuated by making just one of his four free throw attempts. No Sun Devil made more (124) during the year. Holder did dish out seven assists before fouling out with just seconds to play.
4. Glove You Very Much…As Gary Payton II goes, so go the Beavers. OSU’s leading scorer netted just 10 points but was a difference-maker defensively (four steals) and on the glass (nine rebounds). Neither come as much of a surprise as the 6’3″ lefty leads the team in nearly every major statistical category. He will have to contribute much more if OSU hopes to upset the Golden Bears in the quarterfinals.
5. Senior Stars…With the loss it not only closed out ASU’s season but also the Sun Devil careers of shooting guard Gerry Blakes and post Eric Jacobsen. Both performed valiantly as the undermanned Devils kept fighting. Blakes scored a game-high 20 and added eight rebounds, while the former Hamilton High School standout Jacobsen also had eight boards and 11 points.