GAME NOTES: Two teams in the middle of the Pac-12 Conference standings collide on Thursday evening, as the Arizona State Sun Devils play host to the Oregon State Beavers at the Wells Fargo Center.
Craig Robinson's Beavers have won two straight games and four of their last five overall to move to 13-8 overall and 5-4 in conference play. Oregon State took a pair of wins in Los Angeles last week, topping both USC (76-75 OT) and UCLA (71-67) in tight contests.
Herb Sendek's Sun Devils took a three-game win streak into last weekend's road tilt at Stanford, but the streak came to an end with a 76-70 loss to the Cardinal, dropping Arizona State to 5-4 in the conference as well.
Arizona State has won three straight meetings to take a narrow 40-39 advantage in the all-time series with Oregon State. These two teams will close out the regular-season against one another in Corvallis on March 8.
The Beavers' 5-4 league mark is its best since the 1999 campaign, as the strength of the team comes at the offensive end of the floor. OSU is shooting an impressive .490 overall, including .406 from behind the arc, while averaging 77.0 ppg. Star guard Roberto Nelson is the driving force, leading the Pac-12 in scoring at 21.8 ppg (10th nationally). Devon Collier (14.3 ppg) and Angus Brandt (12.5 ppg) add to the team's scoring punch. Eric Moreland adds 8.3 ppg to the cause, but is a key contributor on the boards, ranking third in the conference with 9.1 rpg.
The Beavers trailed by two points at the half against UCLA, but caught fire after intermission, shooting a scorching .545 from the floor over the final 20 minutes to earn the win over the Bruins. Hallice Cooke led five Beavers in double figures with a game-high 20 points. Brandt finished with 13 points, followed by Nelson (12 pts), Moreland (11 pts) and Collier (10 pts). Moreland completed a double-double by grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds.
The Sun Devils shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half, but their efficiency fell to just 33.3 percent in the second half, as the team dropped a six-point decision to Stanford on the road. Jahii Carson and Jermaine Marshall combined for more than half of ASU's offensive output, amassing for 46 points in the loss. Carson poured in 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting, while Marshall finished with 22 on 7-of-11 shooting, including 6-of-8 from behind the arc. Jordan Bachynski grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds in the loss.
Much like Oregon State, Arizona State is a solid offensive team, averaging 76.9 ppg on a healthy .467 shooting that is aided by over 40 percent accuracy from long range. Carson is the straw that stirs the drink in Tempe, ranking third in the conference in scoring (19.1 ppg) and sixth in assists (4.6 apg). Marshall (15.3 ppg) adds another potent perimeter threat, shooting .475 from behind the arc (57-of-120). Bachynski i a dominant force in the low post, averaging 11.4 ppg, while ranking fourth in the Pac-12 in rebounding (8.9 rpg) and first in the nation in blocked shots (4.1 bpg).
The matchup between Nelson and Carson should be fun to watch, but the difference in this game could come inside, where Bachynski and Moreland will battle. Give the edge to Arizona State here, as the team has won 11 of its 12 games at home thus far.
Game Date and Time