Season Ends with Pac-10 Tourney Exit

Oregon State was the only team ASU swept all season, and for a good portion of tonight's game it seemed that the maroon and gold were destined for the trifecta. Alas, a sub-par second half by the Sun Devils is all that the Beavers needed to overcome a 15-point deficit and hang on to a 71-68 victory.

Kevin Kruger displayed the hot shooting touch, scoring four three-point baskets, which gave his team the lead for all but two and half minutes in the opening stanza. ASU led 24-14 at the 8:39 mark, but a four minute scoring drought allowed Oregon State to shrink the margin to 25-22 with 4:03 remaining until halftime. Tyrone Jackson who struggled all season, suddenly hit two long range baskets less than 30 seconds apart and allowed the squad from Tempe to end the half with a 38-30 lead.

ASU started the second half with a torrid 7-0 run in less than two minutes to go up 45-30. However, the writing may have already been on the wall in terns of the game's fate, as Oregon State answered with a 7-0 run of their own and showing no signs of backing down. Foul trouble and an injury to Jeff Pendergraph ultimately spelled doom for the Sun Devils. The maroon and gold still held a 57-54 lead at the 9:03 mark, but went the next seven plus minutes without a field and gave the Beavers what seemed to be a comfortable 71-61 edge with just under two minutes to play. Through missed free throws and turnovers, Oregon State didn't score another point the rest of the way and was handing ASU opportunity after opportunity to reclaim the lead or at least send the game into overtime. Nevertheless, the Sun Devil offense continued to struggle and wasn't even able to throw a desperation shot at the buzzer that could have tied the game and potentially extend their season.

Kevin Kruger paced all players on the floor with 22 points. Bryson Kruger was the only other Sun Devil in double digits with 16. The Beavers dominated the boards with a 34-23 edge, including 14 offensive rebounds. ASU shot 39% from the field, despite a fine 9-18 shooting from three-point land. Kyle Jeffers was the high man for Oregon State with 20 points and nine rebounds.

A disappointing season has now come to an end. The next few weeks will reveal whether this game also signaled the culmination of the Rob Evans era at Arizona State.

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