The three-game winning streak was snapped but the Sun Devils needed to get at least a split in the Bay Area and they did just that. After an impressive overtime win over Cal, the Devils ran out of gas in Palo Alto as the Cardinal won 76-70 in a game that didn't seem as close as the final score indicated. Jahii Carson and Jermaine Marshall combined to score 46 of the 70 points and ASU made more three-pointers (11) than two-pointers (10). Dwight Powell matched his season-high with 28 points while Chasson Randle poured in 21 of his own in the Stanford victory.
As the second half of the Pac-12 slate kicks off, the Sun Devils probably need six wins to be in the Bubble conversation while seven or more wins will probably cement their seed in the Dance. This weekend offers the best chance at a sweep and ASU needs to look at every game as a must-win from here on out. With OSU, Oregon and then Arizona coming to town, this is a three-game homestand to really make a mark.
Craig Robinson: 6th season at OSU – 89-96; 119-124 career
Herb Sendek: 8th season at ASU – 135-114; 389-292 career
G – Hallice Cooke (7.4 PPG, 54% 3PT) vs. Jahii Carson (19.1 PPG, 4.6 APG)
G – Roberto Nelson (21.8 PPG, 40% 3PT) vs. Jermaine Marshall (15.3 PPG, 47% 3PT)
F – Langston Morris-Walker (3.7 PPG, 46% 3PT) vs. Shaq McKissic (8.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG)
F – Eric Moreland (8.3 PPG, 9.1 RPG) vs. Eric Jacobsen (2.6 PPG, 2.2 RPG)
Why Oregon State Can Win:
After sitting out the first 12 games of the season, Eric Moreland's return has given the Beavers a huge boost. Arguably the best rebounder in the Pac-12, Moreland has given OSU a much greater physical presence and enabled Craig Robinson to bring Devon Collier in off the bench. Collier, the Beavers second-leading scorer and rebounder (14.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG), gives his team a dangerous look as no other team in the Pac-12 has three big men in their rotation with as much ability as they do. Roberto Nelson is a star and can score from anywhere on the floor. A versatile player with an efficient shooting touch, Nelson is the key to the Beaver engine. Stop him and everything else will fall into place. Don't stop him and OSU will crank up the scoreboard and might even steal the road win.
Why ASU Can Win:
This is both a winnable game and a must-win game for ASU and they need to put together a full 40 minutes of basketball if they want to secure win #17 on Thursday night. Carson and Marshall were huge in the Bay Area series but everyone else was a couple notches behind. The troika of Bachynski, Gilling and McKissic need to produce more on offense and Eric Jacobsen's physical play needs to keep progressing. As long as the offense doesn't solely rely on just two players, ASU should be able to top the Beavers.
Key Stat: From ASU SID, Doug Tammaro, Jermaine Marshall is fourth in the country at 47.5% from deep out of all players with 120 or more attempts. The graduate transfer from Penn State has been an impact player from day one.
X-Factor: The 942 Crew. After setting all-time student attendance records against Utah and Colorado, the students need to keep it up. ASU is 11-1 at home and has a chance to make that 13-1 after this weekend but Wells Fargo Arena needs to be more than just a house, it needs to be home.
Final Score: ASU 74 OSU 66