The Arizona State Sun Devils’ dream of making the NCAA Tournament is still alive.
ASU defeated the Washington State Cougars 64-59 in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Senior Alonzo Verge Jr. wasn’t going to go out without a fight in what could have been his final game for the Sun Devils should they have lost.
“When everything is on the line and you have nothing to lose, you want to give it everything you got,” Verge said via Zoom postgame.
“This is my last year with these guys and I know this group will never be together again. I just want to give them everything I got and that’s what I’ve been doing in practice and being vocal and things like that.”
After Verge had a turnover on what would have been a go-ahead layup with 30 seconds left, the senior made up for his error.
Down 59-58, Arizona State forced a jump ball with the possession arrow in its favor, thus giving the ball back to the Sun Devils.
From there, it was all on Verge.
Washington State would go on to turn over the ball on its ensuing possession and ASU put the game away from there.
The win improves the Sun Devils’ record to 17-7 (.708) in two-possession games the last two seasons. That metric marks as third-best in the conference behind only the UCLA Bruins’ 16-4 mark (.800) and the Oregon Ducks at 14-4 (.778).
“Just trying to stay composed,” head coach Bobby Hurley said via Zoom of his emotions down the stretch.
“I’m glad I had all my timeouts. I think we needed every one of them to make sure that our guys were on the same page for offensive possessions as well as that final defensive possession where [Verge] was able to score in the paint.”
Verge finished with a game-high 26 points on 10 of 15 shooting to go along with a team-high six rebounds and a pair of assists in 31 minutes played.
“What a fantastic game he had guarding Noah Williams most of the game — he’s a really good player — and then having the offensive game that he had,” Hurley said of Verge’s performance.
“Just tried to remain calm. We’ve been in a lot of close games. We’ve been there before so just trying to make the right plays to win.”
No. 8 seed Arizona State will go up against No. 1 seed Oregon on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas.
Tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m. Catch all the action on ESPN 620 AM.
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