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Arizona St. Destroys Oregon State Iron Men

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Final Score: Arizona St. 80 Oregon St. 66

Oregon St. played only six players, and Arizona St. celebrated senior day in front of a crowd of 5,114, with an 80-66 win to end the regular season for the bottom two teams in the Pac-10.

Jared Cunningham, who had been the only Beaver to start every game, didn't start against Arizona St. Roberto Nelson and Kevin McShane, who, along with Joe Burton played the whole first half without a break, did. Ahmad Starks and Devon Collier also did not start, or play, and Calvin Haynes, Daniel Deane, and Lathan Wallace also did not appear in the game, as the six served a suspension for violating a team rule, reportedly a curfew violation after the Arizona game Thursday night.

Nelson played all 40 minutes, and had a career and Oregon St. season high 34 points. Omari Johnson also played the entire game, and had his fifth career double double, with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Angus Brandt just missed one, with 11 points and 9 rebounds.

Unfortunately, the production didn't extend to Kevin McShane and Joe Burton, who had only 2 points apiece in 40 and 39 minutes, respectively.

Daniel Jones was the only bench player to appear, for 4 first half minutes in relief of Angus Brandt, who was in foul trouble, and 3 more minutes in the second half.

The suspensions, and the outcome, had no real impact, however, as the teams were already locked into their respective conference finishing positions.

Ty Abbott led Arizona St., with 22 points, and connected on 6 of 14 three pointers. Rihards Kuksiks also connected on 4 three pointers, and made 7 of 14 shots, on his way to 18 total points, and Corey Hawkins came off the Sun Devil bench to hit 3 of 5 from outside, and 5 of 7 shots, for 13 points.

In all, Arizona St. hit 17 three pointers, tying a school record.

Arizona St. jumped out 6-0 on a pair of three pointers by Ty Abbott and Jamelle McMillan.

McMillan drained another three pointer, and Brandt picks up his second foul, and Oregon St. was in trouble at the first media time out, down 10-4.

Oregon St. used their 2-3 zone, while Arizona St., as always under coach Herb Sendek, a matchup zone. Playing a short roster took other defenses out of the Beavers' tool box.

Nelson scored 5 straight points, including a long three pointer, to pull Oregon St. back within 10-9, but Carrick Felix answered with a dunk. Undaunted, Nelson knocked down another three pointer to tie the game.

Oregon St. took their first lead, 17-16 on Nelson's third three pointer, showing NBA range.

Another Felix dunk got the Sun Devils the lead back briefly, but Brandt answered, as back and forth basketball briefly broke out.

An 8-0 Arizona St. run coming out of the after 8 minutes left first half media timeout opened a 26-19 Sun Devil lead, and the Beavers would never catch up.

Nelson's layin gave him 13 points, and pulled the Beavers within 29-23, but Hawkins hit two more three pointers for the Sun Devils for a 12 point, 35-23 lead.

Nelson's free throws on a technical foul on Felix for hanging on the rim attempting another dunk matched his previous career high of 15 from the game at Washington.

Another three point basket, this one by Trent Lockett, opened a 13 point, 38-25 Sun Devil lead.

Nelson's fourth three pointer gave him 18 points, but McMillan answered with an uncontested three pointer of his own, and the Sun Devils took a 41-28 lead to the locker room.

ESPN's live stats went from not working in the first half to not existing until late in the game. Even then, they didn't match what actually happened, accounting for an 87-69 score in a game that ended 80-66. Impressive. Or not.

Abbott added another three pointer before another Nelson basket made it 44-30 to start the second half.

Another three pointer, this one by Kuksiks, improved Arizona St. to 11 of 25 from outside the arc, and made it a 17 point, 47-30 lead before Johnson scored for Oregon St. It only briefly slowed the Sun Devils, as Keala King answered.

Nelson improved his total to 22, and then made 5 of 6 free throws after twice being fouled attempting three pointers, but the Beavers didn't get closer than 9 points the rest of the game.

Hawkins ran off 5 straight points, up to the media timeout at 11:56, and Abbott added another 3 for a 59-44 lead, and his fifth one made it 62-46. Arizona St. was 14 of 30 on three pointers at that point.

It was 64-48 after Nelson's assist to Johnson, who increased his point total to 15 at that point, and Oregon St. attempted a three quarter court press.

Johnson and Brandt scored to cut the deficit to 14, 66-52, and Brandt added a free throw, but the iron five were gassed.

Kuksiks knocked down another three pointer, and then Abbott buried one from 27 feet, his 6th. out of 12 attempts at that point, putting Arizona St. up 74-57 with 4 minutes left.

Kuksiks' dunk made it 76-57, but also drew the second technical on the Sun Devils for no good reason, other than this basketball crew apparently wants to join the football officials who lost their jobs this past week.

Nelson's 2 free throws gave him 29 points, an Oregon St. high for this season, and improved him to 11-12 from the line, and it was followed by a Burton basket.

Another Kuksik three pointer gave the Sun Devils 17 threes, tying the Arizona St. record.

Nelson drew another 3 free throw trip, and he wound up 14 of 15 at the line. It was the one bright spot for the Beavers, who made 18 of 22, 82% vs. just 5 of 8 for the Sun Devils, who were content to knock down three pointers except when they could get to the rim with little resistance.

Oregon St. finished the regular season 10-19, and 5-13 in the Pac-10, in ninth place. Arizona St. finished 12-18, and in 10th. place, with a 4-14 mark.

Arizona clinched the regular season Pac-10 title with no sharing or tiebreakers, with a 90-82 win over Oregon.

Oregon St. and Arizona St. will play Stanford and Oregon Wednesday, on the first day of the Pac-10 tournament at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Who will play whom depends on the outcome of Stanford's game this afternoon at California.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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