Updated Mar 23, 2013 - 7:02 am
Fork Report: Sun Devils fall in second round of NIT, see season come to an end
After a sluggish start over the first four minutes of the contest (trailed 12-4 at 16:04 of first half), ASU began to find its rhythm at the offensive end. The Sun Devils reeled off a 21-4 run towards the latter stages of the first half and went into the locker room after 20 minutes with a 31-29 lead.
In Carrick Felix's final game in maroon and gold, the senior had quite a swan song. Felix scored 23 points (one shy of a career high), grabbed eight rebounds and swatted three shots, but arguably his most impressive contribution came at the defensive end. In the loss, the ASU forward guarded four different positions and at times could be seen defending all five Baylor starters.
Baylor clearly looked to be the better team for most of Friday's game, but ASU stayed competitive thanks to its three-point shooting. The Sun Devils went 11-of-24 from behind the arc, including five makes from Felix.
Coming into their second-round NIT matchup with Bayor, ASU's scouting report on the Bears should have been a rather simple one: keep Pierre Jackson out of the paint, limit Corey Jefferson's touches and guard against Brady Heslip on the perimeter.
The Sun Devils, more or less, failed to defend against all three. Jackson had a career-high 16 assists, Jefferson hit 9-of-12 shots from the field, and Heslip led the Bears with four three-point makes.
It also didn't help that ASU allowed Jackson to hit a staggering 16 free throw attempts over the final 11 minutes.
Despite their defensive woes, the Sun Devils had a chance to tie down three with under 25 seconds to go. Unfortunately for Herb Sendek and Co., a game-tying three-point attempt never occurred. Pierre Jackson knocked the ball loose from Jahii Carson in the lane, and Carson and Chris Colvin collided in their respective attempts to retain possession.
• The Sun Devils finished their season with 22 wins for the first time since 2009-10.
• Friday night's game was the fourth matchup between the two schools over the last five seasons. Baylor has won all four games.
• Jahii Carson finished his freshman season on a high note, going over the 20-point mark for the fourth straight game.
With the loss, ASU's season came to an end. The Sun Devils finished 22-13 overall and made the postseason for the first time in three years.
Dave Dulberg, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
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