Arizona State shares the love in Valentine’s Day win over Oregon State

Feb 14, 2024, 10:50 PM | Updated: Feb 15, 2024, 7:40 am

Jamiya Neal, Sun Devils...

Jamiya Neal scored a career-high 21 points as the Sun Devils blew out the Beavers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

TEMPE — The offense for Arizona State men’s basketball continued to round back into shape, proving too much for Oregon State in a 79-61 win at Desert Financial Arena on Wednesday.

The Sun Devils (13-12, 7-7) picked up their second straight win after a five-game losing streak, which was part of a 1-7 stretch. This is the fifth loss in a row for the Beavers (11-14, 3-11).

“I was very nervous about tonight’s game because there’s a tendency to overlook your opponent, even though they beat us pretty soundly on their home court,” Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley said. “It’s just this is the Arizona game week, and guys are thinking maybe past this game.

“So I’m happy that we were able to deliver a good performance.”

ASU wing Jamiya Neal — who came off the bench for the first time this season — continued his recent offensive aggression, finishing with a career-high 21 points. He has now cashed in at least two 3s in six straight games, a career-best streak.

“He’s getting drives to the basket where he can finish, and he’s also shooting the 3 better of late,” Hurley said.

The ASU coach has been trying different sixth men in recent games, and he sold Neal on the idea by ensuring him that once he was in the game, he would “most likely” stay in for the rest of the half.

Hurley later added that Neal will “for sure” start in the matchup with No. 5 Arizona on Saturday in Tucson.

Jose Perez (16 points), Adam Miller (16) and Frankie Collins (14) joined Neal in double-digit scoring, but it was Neal who went on a 6-0 run by himself late to extend the lead back out to 21, sealing the blowout.

With the win, ASU improved to 9-1 in games with at least 75 points and 5-1 in games with at least 15 assists.

“We had good balance,” Hurley said. “It’s been multiple guys (on each of the past two wins).”

The Sun Devils started the second half on a 26-5 run over nearly 11 minutes to stretch their lead out to 21 after the Beavers chipped away at an early 15-6 ASU lead to tie the game at 33 at the break.

In the second half, OSU cut its deficit to 14 before Dexter Akanno stalled the Beavers’ momentum with a flagrant foul on Perez. OSU head coach Wayne Tinkle was called for a technical foul less than three minutes later, and ASU was able to coast off the Beavers’ self-inflicted wounds.

Oregon State forward Tyler Bilodeau proved to be a problem for the ASU defense, tacking on 14 first-half points, but he had to exit the game with three fouls and nearly 15 minutes of play left. He did come back in and matched Neal’s 21 points to lead the Beavers in scoring.

OSU point guard Jordan Pope scored 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting in the first matchup between these teams, but he mustered up just 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting this time around. Hurley credited assistant coach Jermaine Kimbrough with a scheme that slowed Pope down.

Before the Sun Devils travel to Tucson on Saturday, Hurley said he will use the “next 48 hours” to decide who will come out of the starting lineup as Neal returns to it.

He also added that in order to give themselves a chance to win the rivalry game, the Sun Devils will have to cut their turnovers down “from 15 to single digits.”

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