Arizona St. (21-9, 10-7) at Oregon St. (15-14, 7-10) / Gill Coliseum / 1:30 PM PST / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
It's the last home game of the regular* season, and so its Senior Day at Gill for Oregon St.
* An additional home appearance in the NIT or CBI are still a possibility, but in no case, a certainty either.
The honorees will include guard Roberto Nelson, who will finish the day having led the Pac-12 in scoring this season every week, 5th year senior forward Angus Brandt, the last remaining member of coach Craig Robinson's first recruiting class, and forward Devon Collier, all players very familiar to Beaver fans, but also backups center Daniel Jones, guard C.J. Mitchell, and guard Michael Moyer.
The Beavers will be trying to bounce back from back to back 74-69 losses in their last 2 outings against the top 2 teams in the conference, at UCLA Sunday night and then against visiting third ranked Arizona Wednesday evening.
Nelson had a co-game high (with Arizona's Nick Johnson) 25 points, and both Collier and Hallice Cooke had double figure nights above their recent averages as well, but the Beavers suffered 3 turnovers and a 5 minute scoring drought down the stretch that the Wildcats used to pull out the hard-fought win.
Oregon St. will finish the regular season as the 10th seed to next week's Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas regardless of the outcome, as the only team they can now catch in the standings is Washington, and the Huskies hold the tie-breaker against the Beavers.
Arizona St. is the guest today. The Sun Devils are tied for third place in the conference with Colorado entering the day's half-dozen games, and could wind up with a first round bye in the conference tournament or not as things unfold.
Arizona St. slipped back into that spot with an 85-78 loss at Oregon Tuesday night, their 4th consecutive road loss.
Jahii Carson lit up Matthew Knight arena with a game high 28 points, and Jermaine Marshall added 16 for the Sun Devils. Both Jordan Bachynski and Bo Barnes had 13 point nights as well, but Arizona St. only shot 38% as a team, while the Ducks were downing 47% of theirs, and as a result, they are in the bubble business instead of having a clear shot at the second seed in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Indeed, an win at California that required overtime and an early January win at last place USC are the only good things to happen to the Sun Devils away from Tempe since early December.
So while Arizona St. is the team with the motivation of being able to most bolster their own interests with a win, the fact that the Sun Devils are a different team away from home gives Oregon St. a chance for a win that would go a long way toward earning an NIT invitation.
Arizona St. edged Oregon St. 86-82 in overtime in the teams' first meeting in Tempe back on Feb. 6, and despite a game high 26 point night by Nelson. Multiple missed free throws and untimely fouls and turnovers, and the Sun Devils' Jonathan Gilling making a pair of 3 pointers, and 8 of his 9 total points, in overtime spoiled the night for the Beavers, who had controlled the first half of the game.
Marshall led Arizona St., with 25 points, and Carson was right behind, with 23 more, and also a game high 6 assists.
Notably, the Sun Devils have won all 3 of their games that have wound up in overtime this season.
Oregon St. had the emotion to play with Arizona Wednesday, and on Senior Day, can expect more of the same, and probably another game like the first meeting with Arizona St.