FROM PULLMAN — Another frustrating finish by Washington State, as the Cougars lost 63-59 to Arizona State at home earlier tonight. We have our recap below. Read on.
PLAYER OF THE GAME — No question here. Jahii Carson scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half, played 36 minutes at point guard without committing a turnover, and made enough outside jumpers to force the Cougars to play him tighter. When they did that, he was able to drive more, and as coach Ken Bone pointed out, that helped free up opportunities for his teammates, too. Add in the fact that Carson made the two biggest shots of the game down the stretch, and he was pretty much dynamite.
PLAY OF THE GAME — Two stand out here: Brock Motum's turnover with the score tied at 58-58 that led to Carson's crucial and-one; and Carson's driving layup to give ASU a 4-point lead with 11.3 seconds left. The first play was a tad controversial — we didn't get a great look at the replay in the arena, but many in attendance thought Motum was fouled by Carrick Felix, and that's what caused him to go to the ground. Bone said he wasn't sure — he thought Felix might have shoved Motum, but admitted his view of the play wasn't the greatest. On the second, Dexter Kernich-Drew said he was cheating a bit because he saw another ASU player coming to set a screen, and he wanted to make sure he made a clean switch so Carson couldn't use the screen effectively. But before the screen arrived, Carson dashed to his right, blew past Kernich-Drew and scored the decisive basket.
STAT OF THE GAME — ASU committed only four turnovers in the game, part of what helped the Sun Devils overcome a pretty bad shooting night — just 38.7 percent from the field and 11-for-31 from 3-point range. ASU was also just 4-of-11 from the free-throw line, but it scored 16 points off WSU's nine turnovers.
QUOTABLE — “He did a good job all game long, but the second half, especially at the end of the game, he really took over. I think he made six of his last seven attempts and we just couldn’t stop him.” — Bone on Carson
UP NEXT — Another tough one, as the Cougars host No. 8 Arizona at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Wildcats pulled out a 57-53 win at Washington earlier tonight.