It certainly wasn't a marquee match up, nor was it pretty for the most part. But thanks to an incredible three point play from Chris Colvin in the final seconds it ended up being an exciting one as the Sun Devils get the 56-52 win over USC Saturday evening at Wells Fargo Arena halting their four-game skid. Byron Wesley did all he could for the Trojans with 22 points and seven rebounds while Jordan Bachynski lead the way for ASU with 19 points and nine boards of his own.
The Devils made a commitment early to get it inside, feeding Bachynski for ASU's first six points. And when Bachynski hit the bench, Arizona State kept the same formula as Ruslan Pateev was able to rack up a quick five points of his own. With this plan of attack, the Devils were able to shoot 60% from the field in the first half and extend their lead to as much as 11.
"[The guards] placed the ball in the perfect spot where I was able to be effective," Bachynski said.
Sadly, that cushion dwindled as those pesky turnovers began to rear their heads. The Devils totaled 10 in the first half with five of those coming from Colvin.
Yet all would be forgiven with one acrobatic basket.
The Trojans came out of the locker room and instantly began lighting it up from downtown, overtaking the lead and causing fans to get restless. Bachynski recaptured the momentum with some uncharacteristically sharp free throw shooting doubled with a few strong post moves but just as things were looking up the Devils' offense went silent.
Then, after over seven minutes without a single point, Colvin brought the arena to their feet. With the clock winding down, the much-maligned guard cut to the rim, absorbing the contact of two defenders while draining a ridiculous floater. Colvin then put the cherry on top by sinking his free throw attempt, extending the league to an unreachable four points with only 19 seconds remaining.
"[Colvin] made a difficult shot," Head Coach Herb Sendek said. "We were fortunate that it went in...Just as significantly, he made the free throw. It's a big difference being up four in that situation as opposed to three."
With the win, ASU completes the sweep of the Trojans for the first time since 1995. The Devils now have a week off and a boost of confidence before next Sunday's season finale against the Arizona Wildcats.
"If were able to continue to cut down on our turnovers and continue to crash the boards...we're going to have a great game on Sunday," Bachynski said.
Other Game Notes
- Chanse Creekmur quietly continued to make strides, finishing with a new career high in rebounds (six) and assists (four). It's nice to see the streaky guard find other ways to contribute in what has been a very up and down season for him.
- Sendek said in the post-game that he hopes to get Carrick Felix back in practice by Monday but it's a toss up when determining how ready he will be for next Sunday. Once again, he wasn't even at the arena for tonight's game.