Oregon State Advances in Pac-10 Tournament
March 8, 2006
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Kyle Jeffers had 20 points and nine rebounds Wednesday night, leading Oregon State to a 71-68 victory over Arizona State in the opening game of the Pac-10 tournament.
Ninth-seeded Oregon State (13-17) faces the regular-season champion and top seed, No. 13 UCLA, in Thursday's quarterfinals.
Arizona State (11-17) had beaten OSU in both their regular-season meetings and was seeded No. 8 in the tournament.
Jeffers, a 6-foot-9 junior center, sparked a second-half comeback when the Beavers rallied from a 15-point deficit. Oregon State, which won despite a lineup riddled by injuries, barely held on for the victory.
After going 7:11 without a field goal and falling behind 71-61 with 1:58 to play, the Sun Devils came back to close within three points and had the ball in the closing seconds. But Kevin Kruger, who led ASU with 22 points on 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc, threw a pass out of bounds to waste the Sun Devils' final chance to tie it.
Chris Stephens added 14 points for Oregon State. Bryson Krueger had 16 for ASU.
Already missing the injured Lamar Hurd and Nick DeWitz, the Beavers lost still another key player, leading scorer Sasa Cuic, to an injured right ankle early in the game against ASU.
Cuic, a 6-foot-10 sophomore forward averaging 13.9 points and 4.6 rebounds, went down in a heap under the Arizona State basket just 4:07 into the game and had to be helped to the dressing room. He scored four of Oregon State's first eight points before being injured.
The Sun Devils, up 10-8 at that point, went on a 10-2 run over the next 4:39 to build a 20-10 lead on Serge Angounou's layup.
Oregon State came back to close within 25-22 on Jason Fontenet's 3-pointer 4:44 before halftime, but the Sun Devils surged away again and held a 38-30 halftime lead.
Kruger led ASU with 13 points, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, in the opening half. Jeffers paced Oregon State with 10 first-half points.
The Beavers' DeWitz separated his left shoulder in a Feb. 25 loss to USC. Hurd has been sidelined most of the latter half of the season by a groin injury.