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ASU Basketball: Season comes to end with 75-66 loss against Oregon State

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Beware the Ides of March.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

On this night 12 weeks ago, in an arena not all that far from the MGM Grand, the outlook for the Arizona State Sun Devils' basketball season was much, much different.

Bobby Hurley's team had just turned a 12 point halftime deficit into a blowout defeat of UNLV - improving to 7-3 in the process with multiple quality wins already under their belt.

Fast forward three months, and the scene in Las Vegas on Wednesday night was a much different one.

Arizona State walked off the floor a loser for the 17th and final time this season, a season which started with uncertainty and concluded with sheer exhaustion from everyone involved.

Playing with just a seven man rotation until the closing seconds, the Sun Devils (15-17, 5-13 Pac-12) fought valiantly but would never once hold a lead in Wednesday's 75-66 loss against the Oregon State Beavers.

Oregon State (19-11, 9-9) will march on to the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals, where California awaits on Thursday evening. After that, their season will continue into the NCAA Tournament, where the Beavers will head for their first time since 1990.

The Sun Devils, of course, are headed home, left to pick up the pieces of a broken season that held such promise back in December. There will be no Big Dance; no return to the NIT. Hurley has already stated that the team would not accept a bid to the CBI, so unless that mindset changes in the coming days, ASU has played their last basketball game until November.

As far as endings go, this was a fitting one. Just as they have so many times this year, the Sun Devils offensive woes plagued them to start the game. The team shot the ball at just a 27 percent clip in the first half and felt somewhat lucky to only trail 32-23 at the break.

The final 20 minutes didn't start much better.

A quick 10-5 run out of the locker rooms pushed Oregon State's advantage to 14, and the lead would climb all the way to 16 with just under five minutes remaining. Still, a determined Arizona State team battled to extend the game.

Back-to-back layups from sophomore point guard Tra Holder made the score 67-60 with 90 seconds still remaining, but a lapse on the back end of the team's full-court press allowed Gary Payton II to sneak behind everyone for layup that pushed the Beaver lead back to nine. That lead floated between seven and nine points for the final minute of the game before Hurley called off the dogs down 75-66 in the final seconds.

The chapter on this team may be complete, but the Hurley era is just beginning for this program. A top 20 recruiting class is coming in, and brighter days lie ahead.

If everything goes according to plan, those days will be filled with memories like the ones from December against the Runnin Rebels. And early conference tournament exits, on the other hand, will be a thing of the past.