ASU Basketball: Hot shooting pushes Sun Devils past UCLA

ASU basketball took down UCLA, 83-72, in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday, sending the Sun Devils to a semifinal matchup against Oregon.

In Arizona State’s 83-72 win over UCLA Thursday night, the Sun Devils excelled in an area from which they have in many of their wins – shooting.

From the field, the Sun Devils shot just below 50 percent. ASU’s most efficient shooter was Romello White, who finished 8-of-10 and scored 19 points. Forwards Zylan Cheatham and Kimani Lawrence also played efficiently, shooting 4-of-5 and 4-of-8 from the field, respectively.

In the backcourt, Rob Edwards was the only Sun Devil who shot 50 percent or higher. The guards saw most of their success come from deep. As a team, Arizona State shot a 37.5 percent clip from beyond the arc.

While the Sun Devils scored efficiently, so did the Bruins. In fact, UCLA shot 40 percent from three – a higher figure than ASU.

But ultimately, the strong shooting from ASU helped them sustain the lead they already had from proficiencies on the glass and the defensive end.

This strong shooting will need to continue if the Sun Devils want to reach the Pac-12 Tournament Championship. Standing in their way is Oregon.

After a rocky start to conference play, the Ducks have finally found their groove, winning their last five contests. That stretch includes wins over Washington and ASU – the Pac-12’s two best teams.

The last time ASU and Oregon squared off, it wasn’t even close. Oregon cruised to a 79-51 beatdown in Eugene, which started its late season surge.

That disheartening loss was the polar opposite of Thursday; the Sun Devils couldn’t find the bottom of the net at any cost. In addition to shooting 32.1 percent from the field, the Sun Devils shot 12.5 percent from three.

Earlier in the season, when ASU took down Oregon at home, the Sun Devils were excellent from the field, and the scoreboard showed this. There is a direct correlation between ASU’s efficiency and results.

What makes Oregon dangerous is that, even without Bol Bol, they are maybe the most talented team in the Pac-12. Instead of relying on one individual on a nightly basis, players like Payton Pritchard, Louis King and Paul White all carry similar weights and give the Sun Devils a multi-faceted attack.

And all of this leadership is under Dana Altman – the only Pac-12 head coach with a Final Four appearance. From top to bottom, Oregon’s personnel is the most impressive in the ‘Conference of Champions.’

That’s why Arizona State can’t come out of the gates rusty on Friday night.