Arizona State men’s basketball (4-6, 1-3 Pac-12) put up an inspiring effort on the road against Oregon State (6-5, 2-3), but a defensive breakdown in the waning seconds cost the Devils the win, as the team fell to the Beavers 80-79.
It appeared the story of Saturday afternoon’s game was going to be the coming of age moment for the Sun Devils’ two promising freshmen Marcus Bagley and Josh Christopher.
Down the stretch, the pair began to work in tandem to bombard the Beavers with three-pointer after three-pointer.
This play between the pair highlighted the potential 1-2 punch the Sun Devils are hoping can supercharge an offense that has often times been flatlined through the first 10 games this season.
Bagley finished the game with a team-high 19 points to go with two rebounds and two steals. Christopher had 14 with seven rebounds and four assists.
This game was never out of reach for either team, with the largest lead in the game being seven points belonging to Oregon State. As a viewer, it was great theater. The teams went back-and-forth the entire way.
The best way to describe the style of play for the Sun Devils on Saturday was motivated, which is a step in the right direction for a team that has looked rather lethargic at times since their opening three games.
But while ASU has an advantage in talent against most of their Pac-12 opponents, the team has struggled with beating itself more times than not during their losing streak, and Saturday was no different.
The team shot poorly from three-point land, finishing the day 5-21. Remy Martin struggled in his first game back since missing games due to a family emergency, as the engine for the team sputtered his way to 14 points but a glaring 0-8 number in the three-point column.
The Sun Devils also lost the rebound advantage to the Beavers 22-19, continuing a trend that has been with the team most of the season.
Sophomore guard Jarod Lucas had 18 points, 12 of them on three-pointers, to pace the Beavers. Senior guard Ethan Thompson added 17 points of his own on 6-11 shooting.
The Devils were up late and were about to secure a momentum-boosting road win that could have put the team back on course for the postseason. Until this dunk from Warith Alatishe won the game for Oregon State.
A win would have steered the Devils back toward the postseason horizon, but unless something changes in the next few games, this will be the most talented Sun Devil basketball team to miss the postseason in school history.