Cold second half drops Devils

The typical senior day swell of emotion was expected today in Berkeley, although it never took place until the second half. ASU stood toe to toe with Cal in the first twenty minutes, but were outscored 33-16 in the second stanza. The Bears' 62-46 win gives them at least a tie for the regular season Pac-10 title as the Sun Devils return from the Bay Area with a split.

Both teams began the contest struggling on offense, until Arizona State (20-9, 10-6 Pac-10) went on a 10-2 run, including eight points by reserve Jerren Shipp, to capture an 18-13 lead at the 10:36 mark. California (20-9, 11-5) made sure that the visitors wouldn't build on their lead and behind Theo Robertson regained control, 24-22, with 5:35 remaining in the half. The Sun Devils responded and prevented the Bears to feed off that momentum and were able to hold onto a slim 30-39 advantage at halftime.

It seemed inevitable that Cal would mount a surge in the second half, and unfortunately for ASU that script came to fruition.

The Sun Devils trailed for literally the entire period, but following a Jamelle McMillan three pointer at the 10:36 mark, were behind by just a basket, 44-42. Jorge Gutierrez, another bench player who stood out in today's game, propelled the hosts to a 9-0 run, which effectively sealed the game's fate.

ASU scored just four points in the last 11 minutes of the contest, two of them coming with just 36 seconds left in the game. The Sun Devils finished the afternoon just 39.6 percent from the field, 3-22 behind the arc. Even from the charity stripe they were frigid converting just 1 of 6. They were led by Jerren Shipp's 14 points. Eric Boateng had 10 rebounds for ASU who tied Cal with 30 caroms apiece.

The Bears shot 49 percent from the floor, and led the Sun Devils 17-7 in assists. Jamal Boykin and Patrick Christopher each had 14 points to pace Cal.

Needless to say that if the maroon and gold have any chance to be invited to the NCAA tournament that they cannot afford any losses in their next few games. ASU returns home to wrap up the regular season hosting the Los Angeles schools, starting with a 6:30 p.m. tip-off on Thursday versus USC.

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