Oregon State Preview

As the second half of the Pac-10 season gets underway, head coach Herb Sendek and the Arizona State Sun Devils 17-5, 6-4) finish their road trip in Oregon with a trip to Corvallis to take on the surprising Oregon State Beavers (10-11, 4-6) led by the first-brother-in-law, Craig Robinson.

After a tough weekend at home, the Sun Devils put the ball in James Harden's hands and relied on the sensational lefty to get out of their mini-slump. Harden scored 36 points to lead the Devils to a 66-57 victory over the Oregon Ducks in Eugene. The Ducks were led by Tajuan Porter with 18 points. The win was marred by Derek Glasser's neck injury in the closing minutes, who consequently is doubtful for Saturday. Rihards Kuksiks also missed the game with a high fever and is questionable for the Beavers' contest.

In Corvallis, Oregon State missed a shot as time expired and lost 56-53 to Arizona. The Beavers were led by Calvin Haynes with 12 points. The loss snapped OSU's four-game winning streak. The Wildcats were led by the veteran trio of Chase Budinger, Nic Wise, and Jordan Hill, who combined to score 44 of the teams 56 points.

Head Coach – Craig Robinson

Projected Starters

G – Rickey Claitt – (7.0 PPG, 3.0 APG)
G – Seth Tarver – (7.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG)
G – Calvin Haynes – (15.9 PPG, 40% 3PT)
F – Omari Johnson – (8.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG)
F – Roeland Schaftenaar – (9.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG)

Impact Reserves

Josh Tarver
Lathen Wallace
Calvin Hampton
Daniel Deane

Recent Matchups

The Devils got on the Beavers early and often and won 69-38 – the least amount of points ASU has ever allowed in a Pac-10 game. The Sun Devils shot an astounding 65% from the field including 81% inside the arc. Leading the balanced attack was James Harden with 22 points and 7 assists. The Beavers shot just 36% and Lathen Wallace with 13 points was the only Beaver to score more than 5 points.

Key Stats

Starting with Oregon State, since Calvin Haynes joined the team after taking care of some academic issues, the Beavers are 10-6 including their first Bay Area sweep since 1993. For ASU, the win over Oregon was Herb Sendek's 300th win as head coach in a 16-year-career that has had stops at Miami (OH), North Carolina State, and now here at Arizona State.

When the Beavers have the ball

The Beavers are a lot like the Sun Devils were a couple years ago. They move the ball around and try to catch a defense lagging to get an open look. Haynes is the go-to guy and can score with the best of them. Roeland Schaftenaar has really come along nicely this season and has developed into a Sasa Cuic lite. After those two, the scoring is spread out evenly among Seth Tarver, Rickey Claitt, and Omari Johnson.

When the Sun Devils have the ball

After shooting a combined 35% in their five previous games, the Sun Devils moved the ball around better than they have in over a month and let James Harden terrorize the Ducks defense. When Harden can shred through a defense, he has the ability to take it the rack or dish it out to open shooters. Ty Abbott, Derek Glasser, and Jamelle McMillan benefited from open looks all game long due to the defense collapsing on Harden. That goes without mentioning, Jeff Pendergraph should get some looks in the guard-heavy matchup. Jerren Shipp will get the starting nod if Kuksiks can't go – Shipp is nowhere near the scoring threat that Kuksiks is but he is a smart player that works hard on both ends.

X-Factor

With Derek Glasser likely to be a spectator in this one after injuring his neck and getting a concussion in consecutive games, Jamelle McMillan will have the important task of leading the team and dictating the tempo of the game. The already thin rotation will be even thinner without Glasser and maybe Rihards Kuksiks again (fever) and McMillan will need to make their absences as unnoticeable as possible.

Who will win and why?

Oregon State has really been a pleasant surprise this season under first-year coach Craig Robinson. The Beavers play stout defense and have played well in the second half of games. However, the Devils stifled them in Tempe and shot the lights out to boot. In this contest, Harden will take over and Abbott will break out of his slump as the Devils win comfortably.

Final Score – Arizona State 66 Oregon State 50


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