GAME NOTES: The 10th-seeded Arizona State Sun Devils will clash in a second- round NCAA Tournament contest with the seventh-seeded Texas Longhorns in the Midwest Region of the bracket at BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
The winner of this game will play either second-seeded Michigan or 15th-seeded Wofford in the third round on Saturday.
Arizona State earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after being ousted from the Pac-12 Tournament by Stanford, 79-58. The Sun Devils finished their regular season and conference tourney losing the last three games altogether. ASU had started the year 11-2, but had a rocky finish in conference play.
Texas, like Arizona State, had a great start to the year and then ended the regular-season campaign and Big 12 Tournament 3-5. The Longhorns were knocked out of the conference tourney by Baylor, 86-69.
Texas and Arizona State have met four times altogether, with Texas holding a 3-1 lead. The last time these squads clashed on the court was back in 1999 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
Arizona State and Stanford battled to a pretty even first half in the Pac-12 Tournament at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, but the second half was all Stanford. The Cardinal connected on 70.8 percent of their field goal tries from the floor and outscored the Sun Devils, 49-31, to absolutely bury ASU. Jonathan Gilling netted 13 points to pace Arizona State, while Shaquielle McKissic and Bo Barnes each tallied 12 points. McKissic dished out a team-high five assists in the loss, and Jahii Carson rounded out the ASU double-digit scorers with 10 points.
Carson remained consistent on the season with his team-leading 18.6 ppg average, helping out the Sun Devils with 144 assists on the year. Jermaine Marshall is second on the team in the scoring category with 15 ppg, and big man Jordan Bachynski round out the trio of Sun Devils double-digit scorers with 11.1 ppg. Bachynski tops the squad with an 8.3 rpg margin and has recorded an astounding 132 blocked shots on the year.
The red-hot Baylor Bears proved to be way too much for Texas to handle in the Big 12 Tournament. The Bears ran to a 42-27 lead at the end of the first half and never looked back as they coasted to the easy 17-point victory. Isaiah Taylor led the Longhorns in the match with 16 points, adding seven assists to his stat line. Kendal Yancy chipped in with 12 points in the loss, and Martez Walker scored 10. Texas shot 39.7 percent from the floor in the game.
Jonathan Holmes, who scored just six points in the contest against Baylor, leads the team in scoring with a 13 ppg average, netting 51.2 percent of his shots from the floor. Holmes adds a 7.2 rpg mark, which is second on Texas behind Cameron Ridley's 8.1 rpg average. Taylor chips in 12.5 ppg with a team- high 130 assists, and Javan Felix nets 11.8 ppg. Ridley, who leads the squad in rebounding and in blocked shots with a total of 71 on the year, also contributes 11.2 ppg for a team scoring 74.1 points per outing.
Arizona State struggled late in the season and really showed some vulnerabilities on the defensive end. Texas, although inconsistent in its own right, can exploit that weak scoring defense with a strong presence underneath the basket. Expect Texas to move on to the next round.
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