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California (13-8) at Arizona State (17-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 7, 9:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wells Fargo Arena (10,754) -- Tempe, Arizona. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: California 7-4. ASU 13-2. Away Record: California 3-4, ASU 3-2. Neutral Record: California 3-0, ASU 1-1. Conference Record: California 5-4, ASU 6-3. Series Record: California leads, 37-35.
GAMES NOTES: After winning back-to-back games in Pac-12 play for the first time this season, the California Golden Bears will try to make it three straight when they visit the Arizona State Sun Devils at Wells Fargo Arena.
California pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season in the Pac-12 as it knocked off then No. 10 Oregon, 58-54, on Saturday. The win came on the heels of a 71-68 victory against Oregon State for the Golden Bears who hadn't strung two wins together since defeating UC Santa Barbara and Prairie View A&M in consecutive contests in late December. California is 13-8 overall on the campaign, including records of 5-4 in league play and 3-4 in road contests. The Golden Bears will remain in the Grand Canyon State to face No. 7 Arizona next.
As for Arizona State, it had a three-game winning streak snapped in a 96-92 loss on the road last time out against Washington. The Sun Devils are still an impressive 17-5 overall, while tied for third in the Pac-12 standings with UCLA at 6-3. The Sun Devils have been pretty tough to beat at home this season with a mark of 13-2 at Wells Fargo Arena. They will have a chance to improve on that next time out against Stanford.
With wins in each of the last five meetings between these squads California has earned a 37-35 lead in the all-time series.
The win over Oregon was the first by California against a top-10 team since January of 2008. The Golden Bears forced 22 turnovers in the contest which helped them overcome just a 35.6 shooting percentage. Richard Solomon had one of his best games of the season with a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double.
California is lucky enough to employ the services of the Pac-12's leading scorer Allen Crabbe (19.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg). The 6-foot-6 guard has a ton of size and athletic ability which makes him a versatile scorer that is tough to stop. When teams have managed to keep him down the Golden Bears are fortunate to have a solid second option in fellow guard Justin Cobbs (14.3 ppg, 4.4 apg) who is also a skilled distributor. Solomon (8.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and David Kravish (8.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) carry the workload inside. In all California is just ninth in the conference in scoring (68.1 ppg), while holding opponents to 65.3 points per game on just over 40 percent shooting.
Despite another fine effort from Jahii Carson (32 points) the Sun Devils were unable to get by Washington. The Sun Devils managed to shoot 63.8 percent from the field in the game, including a 12-of-19 effort from beyond the arc. However, a 21-6 deficit on points from the free-throw line eventually became to much to handle.
Carson has played well beyond his years as the freshman guard leads the Sun Devils in scoring (18.3 ppg) and distributing (5.1 apg). Carson has scored at least 20 points in 11 games this season and has already surpassed the freshman record for assists in a season at Arizona State. Only two other freshmen in Arizona State history have had as many 20-point games (James Harden and Ike Diogu). Carson isn't alone out there though as Carrick Felix (14.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg) has been extremely productive in the frontcourt. Jordan Bachynski (10.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 4.1 bpg) is a more traditional man on the interior and his ability to disrupt in the middle has been well established as he leads the conference in blocked shots. Evan Gordon (10.9 ppg) and Jonathan Gilling (9.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.0 apg) have been solid contributors as well.
Two of the best scorers in the conference are going head-to-head in this contest. The different in the game will be which team has the better supporting cast and Arizona State has that.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 76, California 68
02/07 10:36:46 ET
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