They fell behind again, trailing for 27 minutes, actually. Their conference season hope looked to be slipping away. But, then No. 11 Arizona State channeled some of its non-conference magic and produced one of its famous bursts in a 77-75 win over Oregon State Saturday.
The Beavers came out of the locker room hitting on all cylinders. Stephen Thomson Jr. nailed two threes as the Beavers started the second half on a 16-5 run.
Queue the burst.
Down 57-44 with 11:32 to play, the Devils ignited. They went on a 11-0 run highlighted by four free throws and a Kodi Justice three that put “The Bank” into an uproar. The Devils then trailed by just four, 57-53.
For most teams, ASU’s rapid fire offense would be too much. Most have gone away without much of a response, but Oregon State put up a fight.
After the 11-0 barrage, the Beavers kept their lead, increasing it to five with three and a half minutes to play.
ASU needed a second burst, and boy, did it come.
Shannon Evans had four straight points, then an and-1 from Remy Martin gave ASU its first lead of the half.
The defining moment: With ASU up just two points with about a minute left to play Evans got the ball beyond the wing. The guard, whose Pac-12 shooting struggles have not helped the Devils, let one fly.
Nothing but net.
All on hand at “The Bank” went into a polite chaos.
It wasn’t all pretty for the Sun Devils, though. In what seems like a repetitive theme from Pac-12 play, they again struggled down low.
But on Saturday, it wasn’t detrimental.
Just two days after being outscored in the paint by 22 against Oregon, ASU beat OSU down low, 34-32, holding Beavers forward Tres Tinkle in check.
The sophomore — who averaged 18 points and seven rebounds coming into the game — was right about at his season average, scoring just 18 points and grabbing 10 boards.
A major key to winning the battle in the paint was the increased play from the freshmen forwards. Romello White (six points and six rebounds) and De’Quon Lake (11 points and six boards).
The first half was a back and forth battle between both teams. They traded the lead 10 times and at the break the Beavers only led by one.
Coming into the game, The Beavers were only scoring an average of 73.9 points per game, the worst in the Pac-12. ASU, who has struggled on defense all season, should pride themselves on keeping OSU within one of its average.
Up next, the Sun Devils travel to the Bay Area with matchups against Stanford on Wednesday at 9 p.m. and California on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. MT.