ASU’s Supporting Cast Bails Out Holder’s Poor Night to Secure Huge Conference Win

By TJ Mathewson // Men’s Basketball Beat Writer for Blaze Sport

TEMPE —In a season filled with second-half comebacks for ASU basketball (14-3, 2-3), the Sun Devils might have just completed their gutsiest performance of the year in the 77-75 win over Oregon State (10-7, 2-3) in Tempe on Saturday night.

“Just a really courageous performance by our team, it shows the resiliency that this team has,” coach Bobby Hurley said. “We have got a lot of winners in that locker room.”

ASU freshman forward Vitaliy Shibel awaits a free throw.

One of the more notable moments in the game came when OSU sophomore forward Tres Tinkle missed a go-ahead three with seven seconds left. The missed shot helped secure the win and caused Wells Fargo Arena to erupt.

“It was such a great feeling to hear that building like that,” Hurley said on the crowd.

Shannon Evans was huge down the stretch for ASU, scoring all 22 of his points in the second half to go along with his six rebounds and seven assists.

Evans nailed arguably the biggest shot of the night for ASU. The three would push ASU’s lead up to 73-68 with 1:22 left in the game.

“He was in attack mode, he wasn’t about to let us lose,” Hurley said on Evans’ performance.

Evans, Martin and Kodi Justice bonded together and combined for 48 points on a night senior guard Tra Holder would like to forget because he just didn’t have it. Holder finished the night with a season low 4 points on 1 for 9 shooting. Holder’s only other single digit point total this season came against St. John’s back on December 8.

The first half looked eerily similar to the second half of the game versus Oregon for the Sun Devils on Thursday. The offense was out of sync and the Sun Devils were playing right into the hands of an Oregon State team that came into the matchup ranked near the top in the PAC-12 in most defensive categories. The intensity the Beavers took to ASU early allowed OSU to take a 34-33 lead into the half.

“Coach (Hurley) kind of just yelled at us,” Evans said when asked about halftime. “He told us we needed to pick it up and we just answered the bell.”

To start the third quarter Oregon State came out on fire and in no time ASU was down 13 with just under 12 minutes left in the contest.

Then, just like they’ve done all year, ASU went on a run.

“I just feel like our energy picked up,” Justice said on the team’s run down the stretch. “We were just speeding them up to play at our pace instead of slowing down to play at their pace.”

De’Quon Lake played some huge minutes off the bench in the second half (11 points, six rebounds and three blocks) in place of Romello White (six points, six rebounds) who barely saw the floor in the second half.

ASU is back on the road for its next game against the Cardinal of Stanford. Tip-off is set 8:30 p.m. on January 17.

TJ Mathewson is a beat writer for Blaze Sports covering ASU Men’s Basketball. You can reach out to him at tjm5518@gmail.com or follow TJ on Twitter @TJMathewson.

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