In some ways, the Arizona State Sun Devils were ripe for an upset.
They were coming off a hard fought but heartbreaking attempt at an upset less than 48 hours earlier against No. 13 Oregon, and a game against the worst team in the Pac-12 inside a sleepy Gill Coliseum was on the horizon.
But instead of taking a step backward, Arizona State (11-13, 4-7 Pac-12) was able to build on some of that momentum gained from its strong performance earlier in the week. The result was a 81-68 victory over the Oregon State Beavers, a win that could push the team all the way into a tie for seventh in the Pac-12 by day’s end.
The victory gave the program its first win in Corvallis - and its first road split of the Oregon schools - since the 2012-13 campaign. They got that win in large part due to a 44-point outburst in the opening half, a half in which the team buried 10 three-pointers.
It was Oregon State (4-20, 0-11), however, who got off to a strong start on this day, jumping out to an early 12-6 advantage just six and a half minutes into the game.
A 17-2 run for the visitors from Tempe quickly put the Sun Devils back on top though, and they eventually cruised to a 44-25 halftime lead.
The start of the final stanza saw more of the same for Bobby Hurley’s team, who answered a mini 4-0 run with a 7-0 burst of their own. The hosts would eventually pull to within single digits at 58-49, but a long three-pointer from point guard Tra Holder on the ensuing possession put Arizona State back in firm control.
The long ball initiated a 13-3 binge, allowing the Sun Devils to cruise to a blowout victory. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Maroon and Gold.
The backcourt duo of Torian Graham and Shannon Evans II led the team with 21 points each, but Holder and Kodi Justice also finished the day in double figures.
Sophomore forward Drew Eubanks ended up leading all scorers with 22 points for the Beavers.
Arizona State now sets its sights on a home set against the Bay Area schools, starting with a Wednesday night game against the California Golden Bears. Tipoff is set for 9:00 p.m. MST and the contest will be televised by ESPNU.