Season ends with road loss to Baylor

Season ends with road loss to Baylor

Despite a sensational effort by senior Carrick Felix in his last game as a Sun Devil, Arizona State had its season come to an end on Friday night falling to the Baylor Bears 89-86 in the second round of the NIT Tournament.

In an up tempo, back and forth game that featured multiple scoring runs by both teams, Arizona State came up just short in the end. Baylor picked up right where they left off on Wednesday night, scorching hot offensively, as they charged in front of the Sun Devils 12-4 in the game's opening minutes. ASU started just 4-17 shooting from the field but used a barrage of three point field goals, including four straight, to spark an 18-2 run as they raced ahead of the Bears, momentarily silencing a raucous Ferrel Center crowd, matching Baylor's physicality and athleticism.

A Jonathan Gilling three point basket stretched the ASU lead to seven, their largest of the game, before the Bears would strike back. Senior point guard Pierre Jackson scored seven consecutive points to the end the first half, pulling the Bears within two, 31-29. Jackson, who led the Big-12 in both points and assists, finished the game with 23 points, 16 assists and 4 steals.

Tempers began to flare early in the second half as both Baylor's A.J Walton and Arizona State's Jon Gilling would foul out after drawing their fourth personal foul and subsequent technical fouls, resulting in their disqualifications. The Bears used a 7-0 run to recapture the lead with 15:15 to play before Felix began to impose his will on both ends of the court. Fueled with intensity, the senior scored 19 of his team-high 23 points in the second half, jumpstarting another 8-0 run by the Sun Devils as they once again stormed back into the lead.

Felix's first five field goals were all form behind the three point line, as he helped stretch the Baylor defense. The forward also added eight rebounds and three blocks.

But Jackson, along with forward Cory Jefferson, who added 21 points and seven rebounds, refused to be denied.

Baylor used a 6-0 run to push their lead to nine with under four minutes to play. Jahii Carson, who started the game slowly against the older, more physical senior, Jackson, brought ASU within two with 26.1 seconds as he drained a three pointer from the top of the key. However, after Baylor missed the second of two free throws, Carson turned the ball over in transition, dashing any hopes of a Sun Devil comeback.

The talented freshman finished with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists but struggled controlling the ball, committing six turnovers for the second consecutive game. Chris Colvin provided a big lift for the Sun Devils with 15 points and eight rebounds in the loss.

Baylor improved to 11-4 in postseason games under Head Coach Scott Drew. It was the fourth match-up between the two teams in the last five years, with Baylor holding the all-time series lead now, 5-2.

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