A quick look at the stat sheet Friday night shows that ASU 11-11 (3-6) had no business competing in a close game with Oregon 15-7 (5-4), but that's exactly where the Sun Devils found themselves down 60-57 with 26 seconds left.
As time continued to wind down, Shaquielle McKissic dribbled to the left side of the court and hit a three with just .9 seconds left to send the game into overtime. The same free throw issues and a little foul trouble continued to plague ASU in the extra period. Still, ASU was in the game with the ball and again 26 seconds left. This time, the Sun Devils held for the final shot.
In a rushed, chaotic, last play Bo Barnes ended up with the ball three feet beyond the arc, his shot air balled wide left of the rim and ASU fell to Oregon 68-67.
"We wanted to get a drive to the basket," head coach Herb Sendek said. "We had a play drawn up, they defended it. You know we have to make a play."
Oregon capitalized off of almost every one of the Sun Devils' 14 turnovers, garnering 26 points. ASU also struggled from the free throw line, hitting just seven of 15 and missing the front ends of a few one and ones. Oregon was 12 of 14 from the charity stripe. Oregon won in Eugene 59-56 in a similar game, it was more of the same for the Sun Devils, which have now lost eight of their 11 games by 10 points or fewer.
"Got to make free throws in a close game to win," Sendek said. "When we foul Young, it’s automatic, that’s two points. Even if we make three or four of those, that’s no different than any of the other close games that we’re talking about."
Shaquielle McKissic kept the Sun Devils in the game, shooting 50 percent from the field and 60 percent from three (ASU as a team only shot eight of 27 from beyond.) Tra Holder also helped ASU's cause with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists.
"He played an outstanding game," Sendek said of McKissic. "I thought Tra Holder was terrific and keeps getting better and better."
McKissic added that he was battling a stomach bug most of the day and his stomach was turning throughout the game. Still, he managed 24 points and five rebounds.
"That was our game to win," McKissic said. "We've just got to play all 40 minutes. That's just basketball. Regardless of whatever we still had an opportunity to win the game and they played one good game so credit to Oregon."
ASU also missed its main post presence in overtime. Eric Jacobsen fouled out shortly before the end of regulation with eight points and one rebound. In spite of his loss, ASU finished with a 39-34 rebounding edge.
"It would be great to have him in the game in those situations," Sendek said.
Next up for ASU is the Territorial Cup matchup Feb. 7, a 2:30 p.m. tip off on Fox.
Even though the Sun Devils couldn't pull it out, they certainly gave themselves a shot, both literally and figuratively, a sentiment McKissic echoed afterwords.
"I don't think he knew how much time he had to really adjust it," McKissic said of Barnes last shot. "I don't think he knew how much time he had to really adjust it. It was quick, I thought he was still going to make it."