LAS VEGAS - Rarely does an opposing team give the gift of an 0-for-10 scoring drought.
When they do, it is usually an invitation for the other team to separate itself. Arizona State (21-11) accepted Oregon State’s (11-21) invitation, and created a distant enough scoring gap to withstand multiple late-Beaver runs to win 63-57 in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Like the previous wins against Oregon State, points came at a minimum, especially early in the game. ASU was shooting just 33% from the field before guard Desmond Cambridge Jr (13 points). drilled a three-pointer with seconds remaining in the half to take a 29-26 lead into the locker room.
After recording just nine assists in last week’s loss to USC, ASU players combined for 17 assists Thursday — five of which came from guard Frankie Collins (2 points).
Big-man Warren Washington led all scorers with 15 points, which came in the paint, from midrange and at the free-throw line.
The Beavers’ scoring drought came midway through the second half. During the 0-for-10 slump, the Sun Devils went 6-for-12 from the field.
Thirty-four of ASU’s 63 points came off a turnover or an offensive rebound. Thirteen points from the team’s total came from bench players. Reserve forwards Luther Muhammad and Alonzo Gaffney were tied for the team-lead with plus-minuses (+-) of 7.
Guard Jamiya Neal’s 7 points and 4 rebounds off-the-bench were a also noticeable spark.
ASU will meet USC (22-9, 14-6 Pac-12) in the second round of the Pac-12 Tournament Friday night at 9:30 p.m. Arizona time.