Rob Edwards and Taeshon Cherry both left their stamp on Thursday’s 70-67 win against Oregon State.
Both players combined for 7 of ASU’s 10 three's in a 40 percent (10-25) shooting performance against the Beavers. Additionally, the players made their shots count when it mattered the most. With under 10 minutes remaining and as Oregon State cut a double-digit lead down to six, Edwards proceeded to cash in eight straight points.
The duo combined for 25 points in the game, and they would be crucial in regards to breaking down Oregon State’s 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone defenses. Furthermore, Edwards had 10 of his game-high 13 points in the last 10 minutes.
“I just to let it (the game) come to me,” Edwards said. “I just try to let everything come to me and not get in the way of anybody, and just be calm on the court and play my game.”
When ASU upset then No. 1 Kansas in December, Edwards was the one at the line to seal a four-point win. Calm, cool and collected, he sank two free throws to take down the Jayhawks.
Flash forward to Thursday against the Beavers, and it was a similar situation. After trailing by double-digits throughout the second half, Oregon State trimmed the lead down to one with a late push.
Edwards was fouled with under a minute remaining, and he proceeded to cash in two big free throws. The Devils couldn’t have asked for a better candidate at the line. Edwards is currently the only Sun Devil shooting above 80 percent at the charity stripe.
On Thursday, free throw’s were once again a big issue. ASU shot 10-22 for a dismal 45 percent at the line. However, with all free throw numbers pointing against them, Edwards stepped up and delivered.
Mixed with Cherry’s three-point effort, the two players helped secure the victory.
“When I get going, I start getting my confidence up,” Cherry said. “Today, I had two (three’s) in the first half, and it just got my confidence going...It was a big thing, and Rob...he’s been in the gym 24/7. I learned a couple thing shooting with him. He don’t miss.”
Altogether, Thursday’s win for the Sun Devils went from coasting to a victory, to a late survival mode at Wells Fargo Arena. But aside from the last three minutes, Cherry and Edwards also provided some much-needed spacing on the floor.
Oregon State threw multiple zone looks at ASU, and they mixed up their defenses throughout the game. However, with players like Cherry and Edwards, ASU had the ability to stretch out the defense, which is sometimes a tall task.
Freshman guard Luguentz Dort thrives attacking the basket, and redshirt senior forward Zylan Cheatham possesses the ability to run the floor and provide energy. However, teams often let players like Cheatham and Dort try to beat them from the three-point line rather than taking them inside.
Oppositions often clog the lane, and it forces ASU to make the long ball. If the team’s shooters are off, it’s often a rough night. When Edwards and Cherry were both shooting the ball like they were on Thursday, it helps ASU’s offense that much more.
“We got a lot of drivers, a lot of people that like to drive in the paint,” said ASU sophomore forward Romello White of Edwards and Cherry. “When we drive and kick out, we can hit three’s. They did great this game.”
Overall, the performance from the two players aided in the victory. Along with a stout defensive effort through most of the game, the Sun Devils handed Oregon State its first conference loss of the year. The players stepped up in the clutch, and similar efforts will be needed if ASU wants to make a run in the Pac-12 and beyond.