The Morning After: ASU misses chance to beat Oregon

A look back at ASU men’s basketball’s 68-65 loss at Oregon on Sunday:

 

Last play

It’s amazing that ASU actually had a chance to the tie the game. The last play wasn’t exactly pretty, however.

Senior forward E.J. Singler missed his second free throw, which put Oregon up by three with five seconds to go. Sophomore forward Jonathan Gilling grabbed the defensive rebound. The Sun Devils didn’t have any timeouts, but with that much time, it’s probably best to push the ball up the court, especially with Oregon’s defensive pressure.

Redshirt freshman Jahii Carson was right behind Gilling, yet he hesitated then pushed the ball up court himself. He passed it senior wing Carrick Felix, who missed a well-contested, desperation 3-pointer.

The ball has to go to Carson there given his speed and his play in the last five minutes. He had a hand in every single bucket down the stretch – six points and two assists. Carson just scored the last two buckets for ASU to make a tie game possible, including a tough 3-pointer with seven seconds left to trim the deficit down to two points.

It’s tough to put that kind of pressure on a freshman, but Carson isn’t the typical freshman point guard. He played the entire game and collected his seventh 20-point game Sunday. Carson dropped 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Carson became the first ASU freshman to get back-to-back 20-point games on a Pac-12 road trip since Steve Beck on March 1 through March 3 in 1984. It likely won’t be Carson’s last time accomplishing the feat this season.

Evan Gordon’s offensive output

Junior guard Evan Gordon broke out of a shooting slump Sunday and posted 17 points. He shot 6-of-11 from the floor, including 3-of-6 on three-pointers. It was one of his most efficient nights offensively and the third-most he’s scored this season.

Gordon went four games without reaching double-figures before Sunday’s contest. The last time he scored in double-figures was against Coppin State on Dec. 29.

“That’s a huge thing for Jahii because it opens up the lane,” assistant coach Dedrique Taylor said during a postgame radio interview. “They can’t hold in the lane if Evan and Jon and Carrick for that matter and making shots. It opens up the game and it opens up the floor and allows him to do what he does best, which is space. He’s one of the quickest guys out there and he eats up space quicker than most guys would imagine. He gets to the front of the rim and next thing you know, it’s in the shooter’s hand.”

Felix locks up Singler

Singler can beat a team in many ways. He’ll find a way to impact games as a scorer, rebounder or facilitator. Credit goes to Felix to shutting him down Sunday.

Singler scored seven points, on 1-of-9 shooting, had two assists, two steals and a rebound in 36 minutes. To put it in perspective, Singler had 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists against Arizona and 15 points and nine rebounds against Oregon State. While Felix’s offensive production is better than last season, he’s still a really good defender, and it showed once again.

 

Reach the reporter at master.tesfatsion@asu.edu