Arizona State (13-2) at Oregon State (10-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 10, 11:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gill Coliseum (9,604) -- Corvallis, Oregon. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: ASU 11-1, OSU 7-2. Away Record: ASU 1-0, OSU 1-1. Neutral Record: ASU 1-1, OSU 2-1. Conference Record: ASU 2-0, OSU 0-1. Series Record: Series is tied, 39-39.
GAME NOTES: The red-hot Arizona State Sun Devils head to the Pacific Northwest this week for a pair of Pac-12 matchups, starting with Thursday night's clash with the Oregon State Beavers.
Herb Sendek's Sun Devils are an impressive 13-2 on the season and enter action this week with a five-game win streak in tow. Arizona State began Pac-12 play last week with wins over Utah (55-54 OT) then Colorado (65-56).
Craig Robinson's Beavers have also gotten off to a strong start with 10 wins against just four losses. However, Oregon State has dropped two of its last three games, including opening league play last weekend with a 79-66 setback to rival Oregon.
This series is tied 39-39 thanks to Arizona State's dominance of late. The Sun Devils have won eight of the last nine matchups. In Corvallis, Oregon State holds a decisive 22-13 advantage.
The Sun Devils have been fueled by stingy defensive play this season, holding opponents to a mere 63.3 ppg and under 40 percent shooting (.383). The numbers at the offensive end are a bit more modest at 73.2 ppg, although ASU is shooting a steady .463 overall. The Sun Devils have a potent one-two punch in Jahii Carson (16.7 ppg) and Carrick Felix (15.1 ppg). Junior seven-footer Jordan Bachynski has been a key contributor as well, leading the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage (.656), averaging 10.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and a Pac-12-best 69 blocks (third in the nation at 4.9 bpg). Even more options offensively come in the form of Evan Gordon (9.9 ppg) and Jonathan Gilling (9.6 ppg).
It was another strong defensive performance by ASU in the team's nine-point win over Colorado last time out. The team held the Buffaloes to just 35.3 percent shooting, including a 2-of-19 showing from behind the arc (.105). Three Sun Devils finished with double-digit points. Felix led all scorers with 20 points. Barchynski just missed a double-double with 16 points and nine blocks, but Gilling was able to complete the feat, netting 12 points and grabbing 10 boards.
While Arizona State has done it with defense, Oregon State is known for its offensive prowess. The team ranks third in the Pac-12 in scoring at 77.1 ppg and 18th nationally in 3-point accuracy (.395). The strength is in the frontcourt, where Joe Burton, Eric Moreland and Devon Collier have combined to shoot .571 from the floor. The team lost center Angus Brandt early on to a knee injury, but there has been plenty of depth to compensate. Roberto Nelson leads five players in double-figure scoring with 16.0 ppg. Collier is next in line with 14.5 ppg, followed by Ahmad Starks (13.0 ppg), Burton (11.1 ppg) and Moreland (11.1 ppg), who ranks first in the Pac-12 and ninth nationally in rebounding (11.1 rpg).
The Beavers struggled to find their shooting touch in the recent loss to Oregon. OSU connected on just 41.7 percent from the field, weighed down by a 6-of-20 showing from behind the arc (.300). The loss spoiled a strong performance by Starks, who knocked down 8-of-16 shots, including four 3- pointers to lead all scorers with 22 points. Nelson poured in 18 points, while Collier added 10 off the bench. Moreland just missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.
Both these teams use strong interior games to set the pace. The clash between Bachynski and Moreland in the paint will be fun to watch. Coming off an emotional loss, look for the Beavers to utilize their scoring depth and the homecourt advantage to take a little wind out of Arizona State's sails.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon State 73, Arizona State 70
01/10 10:36:14 ET