GAME NOTES: The Arizona State Sun Devils take a short winning streak on the road, as they visit the California Golden Bears in a Pac-12 Conference duel at Haas Pavilion on Wednesday night.
Arizona State topped Utah (79-75) and Colorado (72-51) during a three-day stretch last week. The victories pushed the Sun Devils to 15-5 overall and back above .500 in conference play (4-3). They will visit Stanford before playing their next home contest.
Contrary to the Sun Devils' recent run of success, the Golden Bears have dropped decisions in their last two outings. California is now 14-6 overall and still has a strong track record against the rest of the conference (6-2). The Golden Bears host top-ranked Arizona in their next bout.
A 66-62 win for Arizona State last season ended a five-game win streak for Cal in the all-time series, which it leads by the narrowest of margins, 37-36.
Jahii Carson led the Sun Devils in scoring yet again when they faced Colorado, netting 18 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Arizona State connected on 48.9 percent of its shots from the floor and outscored the Buffaloes 27-6 from beyond the arc.
Carson (18.4 ppg, 4.6 apg) is one of the best pure scorers in the Pac-12, ranking fifth in the league heading into the week. He is also a skilled passer, leading the Sun Devils in assists. Joining Carson in the backcourt is Jermaine Marshall (15 ppg), who is a potent scorer in his own right, although he managed only eight points against Colorado. Jordan Bachynski (12.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 4.5 bpg) is best known as the nation's leader in blocked shots, but he can also finish around the rim and clear the glass effectively.
California was on the wrong side of a 76-64 decision against UCLA last time out. The Golden Bears managed to connect on only 34.5 percent of their shots from the floor, while being outscored 32-24 in the paint. Jordan Mathews tallied a team-high 18 points in the losing effort.
Leading scorer Justin Cobbs (15.2 ppg, 6.2 apg) did manage to score 14 points against UCLA, but he was not as effective in distributing the ball, finishing with just a single assist. It was quite a dip in production considering Cobbs is second in the Pac-12 in helpers. Richard Solomon (11.8 ppg, 10.6 rpg) and David Kravish (11.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg) are a solid duo inside, with Solomon leading the league in rebounds as the only player averaging more than 10 per tilt. Solomon finished with nine points and 14 boards against UCLA, while Kravish had seven points to match his seven boards. Tyrone Wallace (11.2 ppg) had the most disappointing effort in the setback, with four points on 0-of-8 shooting from the floor.
Carson will have trouble dominating in the backcourt with Cobbs, Wallace and Mathews to deal with. Meanwhile, Bachynski will need help to shut down both Kravish and Solomon. In the end. it will be too much of a task for the Sun Devils to defeat the Golden Bears on the road.
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