Arizona State Sun Devils (14-3, 2-3 Pac-12) senior guard Shannon Evans has never lacked confidence on the floor. To start Pac-12 play, that wasn’t necessarily a good thing, as he shot under 40 percent in five straight games.
In the second half of the No. 11 Sun Devils’ 77-75 win over the Oregon State Beavers, it was exactly what the doctor ordered for ASU, as Evans scored 22 points in the final 20 minutes of the win.
But the night started out quietly for Evans, attempting only one shot from the floor in the first 20 minutes, but adding two rebounds and three assists to stay involved in the flow of the game.
He didn’t score a single point in the first half.
“That’s how the game goes,” Evans said. “I wasn’t getting shots, but other guys were.”
It was actually fellow senior guard Kodi Justice who carried the scoring mantle in the first half, making three of four 3-pointers in the period to pace the Sun Devils with nine points, heading into the locker room trailing 34-33.
Evans scored his first point on ASU’s first shot attempt of the second half, but his insertion into the scorebook didn’t help ASU much. The Beavers stretched out their lead to 13 points with 11:32 remaining in the game and the Sun Devils stared a 1-4 start to conference play directly in the face.
“We kind of came out a little lethargic in the second half,” Justice said. “And we knew if we didn’t change something quick, this game we were going to give this game away.”
That’s where Evans kicked it up a notch.
“Shannon was in attack-mode,” head coach Bobby Hurley said. “He wasn’t going to let us lose.”
Evans scored 14 of ASU’s final 33 points, his final field goal coming on a deep 3-pointer with 1:22 remaining to put the Sun Devils ahead by five points, essentially icing the game. He added four rebounds, four assists and a steal, propelling the Sun Devils out of their slump and back into the win column.
It is the second-most prolific individual scoring half of the season for ASU, falling behind only senior guard Tra Holder’s 23-point second half in the win over Xavier.
“To get 22 in the second half, in a game that was a possession game, not a wide-open game,” Hurley said. “He was efficient as you could be.”
The Sun Devils needed every bit of that efficiency, pulling victory from the jaws of defeat to split their second conference weekend in a row and maintain standing in the conference.