Devils Lose an OT Heartbreaker

Senior Day games usually pack a lot of emotion and feature fitting endings for those players performing for the last time on their college home court. This afternoon in Pullman was no different. Washington State's Taylor Rochestie pulled well behind the three-point line to sink the game winning basket with 2.3 seconds left in overtime, as the Cougars upset Arizona State 51-49.

Arizona State (21-7, 10-6 Pac-10) started the game as they were suffering still from the hangover over their overtime loss to Washington two days ago. Washington State (16-13, 8-9) jumped to a 5-0 lead after two minutes of play. Thanks to back to back three pointers by Jamelle McMillan and Rihards Kuksiks, the visitors mounted a 13-2 run to grab a 13-7 advantage at the 13:24 mark.

The Sun Devils didn't relinquish their lead the rest of the period, but their offensive struggles didn't allow them to expand the margin and they led just 23-20 at the half.

The Cougars weren't exactly lighting up the scoreboard themselves, but were able to tip the scales in their favor early in the second stanza, and led 34-29 with 10:11 left in the contest. Six straight points by James Harden followed a three-point basket by Derek Glasser tied the game at 38 apiece at the 4:18 mark.

With just two seconds left in regulation, and ASU trailing 43-40, Harden was fouled while attempting a shot behind the arc. The sophomore made good all three charity stripe opportunities to send the game into an extra frame.

The Sun Devils scored just twice in overtime, both long shot baskets by Glasser. Yet, with Harden fouling out with a minute and half into this period, ASU's offense naturally suffered a setback that they were never able to overcome. Rochestie's heroics completed not only a season sweep by Washington State and their sixth straight over the Sun Devils, but also contributed to winless road trip for ASU in the evergreen state.

Harden was just 2-11 from the field, but 10 of his 13 points came in the second half. He also paced all players with five assists. McMillan and Glasser registered ten points each for ASU. Pendergraph tallied a game-high eight rebounds. Klay Thompson had 17 points for Washington State.

Even with a below average shooting performance by the maroon and gold, the visitors were an impressive 9-16 from three point land. The Cougars controlled the glass 30-26 and five blocks on the afternoon.

This loss doesn't cost ASU a trip to the NCAA tournament, but certainly adversely affects their seed. The Sun Devils will have to pick themselves off the matt quickly as they host the Bay Area schools this weekend, starting with Stanford on Thursday. On Saturday Tempe will have its own Senior Day game versus Cal, and maybe the maroon and gold can enjoy some that event's magic as their Pac-10 foe did this afternoon.

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