Familiar Script Plays Out in ASU's Loss

Thursday night against Oregon State, the Sun Devils came out sluggish out of the gates. In the second half, they mounted a furious comeback, but ultimately fell short in their quest for victory. This is the story of tonight's game. We apologize if it sounds familiar, but unfortunately the 68-61 defeat at the hands of the Beavers played out like many other Sun Devil losses this season.

The 13 points scored by ASU in the first half, is probably all you need to know about the Sun Devils' performance in that period. Halfway through the first half, ASU was only trailing by a handful of points 9-4. From that point on, the Beavers went on a 19-9 run and ended the half leading 28-13. Kevin Kruger scored his team's first ten points, but Oregon State's Chris Stephens answered back, and the home team found itself ahead 40-23 at the 15:34 mark.

Both teams literally traded baskets, and a David Lucas jumper made it 51-34 with 8:04 left in the game. From that point on the Sun Devils truly came to life, and mounted their biggest run of the season, 16-0. Ike Diogu, who was in foul trouble during the first half, scored five points during that stretch and along with Kruger's two three pointers reduced their deficit to 51-50 at the 5:08 mark. But that's as close as the Devils would get. Stephens and Lucas took their team out of the slump, and further pushed ASU into their own quagmire.

Kevin Kruger continued his red-hot performance, and broke his career high less than five days after establishing it. Ironically, all of his 20 points came in the second half. Ike Diogu's double-digit scoring streak looked in serious jeopardy after netting just two points in the first half. Nevertheless, he finished the game with 18 points. Jamal Hill was the only other ASU player in double figures with 13. The Devils shot 19% in the first half and 34% for the game. Ironically, this game was one of the best for Rob Evans' team from the free throw line (88.5%), as well as from three-point land (37.5%). Oregon State dominated the boards 33-26, including 14 offensive rebounds. The Beavers' David Lucas led all players with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

The loss to Oregon State all but killed any realistic chance ASU had of finishing eighth in the Pac-10 and qualifying for the conference tournament. On Saturday, the Devils will face Oregon. A loss in Eugene could be the nail in the coffin in the Sun Devils' chances for post-season play.

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