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Sun Devil men notch commanding 20th victory, 69-57 over Washington State

February 21, 2013

It took Arizona State half of the first half to get going, but once they did and starting hitting shots, it never looked back. The Sun Devils led early and often, including the entire second half, picking up their 20th victory of the season (20-7; 9-5) Feb. 20, 69-57 over Washington State.

Carrick Felix and Jahii Carson, ASU's two brightest stars, shined brightest on the night. Felix recorded an impressive double-double, finishing with a game-high 23 points on 7-11 shooting (3-5 from three), to go along with his 11 rebounds. He also finished 6-7 from the free throw line. Carson also had a notable shooting performance, going 7-12 from the field, concluding the game with 21 points and five assists. He did not miss from the charity stripe, sinking all five of his attempts.

Felix and Carson both began the game by attacking the rim and converting on their open opportunities inside. Felix made the Sun Devils' first four points, while Carson followed that up with the next five all of us own. ASU led 9-4 at the first official timeout with 15:48 to play.

There was nothing doing for the Sun Devils out of the timeout, for when the second official timeout came exactly four minutes later with 11:48 to play, Arizona State had failed to put a single point on the board. The Cougars added five, and the teams were all knotted at nine.

After returning from its road trip, ASU started the game shooting just 4-12 from the field before Carson hit a baseline jumper to finally end the scoreless streak.

On a night celebrating former Arizona State standout James Harden, dubbed James Harden Beard Night, the crowd remained silent until 13 points were put up on the board, Harden's collegiate and NBA number--the quiet lasted much longer than fans anticipated, but a Felix three-pointer with 10:08 to play in the first half put the Devils at 14 points, cuing the eruption from the crowd.

Fueling off the home crowd energy, Carson followed with another baseline jumper, forcing Washington State to call a 30 second timeout with the score 16-14 in favor of ASU. The arrival of the crowd made an immediate and lasting impact on the remainder of the game.

Thanks to a three-point play from Jordan Bachynski followed by another three-ball from Felix, Arizona State was able to extend its lead to five with 7:01 to play, 22-17.

Carson brought the crowd of Wells Fargo Arena to its feet with 5:21 to play, grabbing a ferocious rebound on the defensive side of the ball and sprinting coast to coast, slamming through a dunk every fan has been waiting much of the season to see. It provided the spark ASU required.

On the next possession Carson found Evan Gordon who spotted up and hit from three, and after another three-pointer from Jonathan Gilling, the Devils controlled a commanding 31-19 lead.  

The Sun Devils stretched their lead even more by the time the first half concluded, closing out the first 20 minutes of play up 14, 36-22.

Arizona State improved to shoot 52.0 percent on 13-25 shooting in the first half to Washington State's 33.3 percent on 9-27 shooting. Carson led all scorers at the half with 13 points on 5-8 shooting, followed by Felix, who put up 11 points on 4-6 shooting. Royce Woolridge led the Cougars with eight points on 3-5 from the field.

The beginning of the second half began much like the first half ended, with the Sun Devils enforcing their will on the Cougars. They scored the half's first five points, jumping out to a 19-point advantage. The lead remained 19 at the first official timeout of the second half, 43-24.  

With 8:55 to play and Washington State on a small run of its own, ASU head coach Herb Sendek called a timeout as the lead slipped to 13 points. Out of the timeout, though, Carson threaded the defense on a pass to Bachynski underneath the hoop off a one-handed bullet pass, allowing Bachynski to throw down a jam of his own.

Still, though, the Cougars stayed within striking business, evident when they cut the lead to 11 points, 56-45, with just under seven minutes to play.

The lead was finally single digits again as a Washington State layup with 5:03 to play brought the deficit to nine, but the Cougars failed to get closer before the final official timeout with 3:32 to play. The Sun Devils led 60-51.

With 1:35 to play and up by eight points, Carson got sent to the free throw line for one-and-one. He sank both of his attempts, stretching the lead to ten, all but capping the victory against the first school from Washington on the home stand. The Sun Devils went on to win the game by 12, 69-57.

Next up for ASU will be the Washington Huskies, the tilt slated for a late evening tipoff at 9 p.m. (MT), Feb. 23.