Jahii Carson has always loved the spotlight, embracing the hype that has followed him since his high-school days. Faced with the brightest...
LAS VEGAS — Jahii Carson has always loved the spotlight, embracing the hype that has followed him since his high-school days.
Faced with the brightest lights of his young career, the fabulous freshman rose above everyone else.
Carson scored five of his 34 points in overtime in his first college postseason game, helping Arizona State hold off Stanford 89-88 in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament on Wednesday. Carson’s 34 points were the most by a freshman in tournament history.
“I just try to come up big on big stages,” Carson said. “I know my teammates look a lot for me to create for them and create for myself, and I try to go out there and make big plays.”
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Meeting for the second time this season, the Cardinal and Sun Devils traded three-pointers, dunks and small runs in an entertaining opener to the four-day tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Arizona State (21-11), the tournament’s ninth seed, went up six with about 2 minutes left in regulation, but Stanford (18-14) rallied, tying it at 79 on Aaron Bright’s four-point play with 38 seconds left. Bright, from Bellevue, finished with 27.
Carson, who missed a three-pointer at the end of regulation, put Arizona State up three with a layup in overtime, and Evan Gordon hit 5 of 6 free throws to send the Sun Devils to the quarterfinals Thursday against No. 21 UCLA.
The Cardinal likely will be headed to the NIT, which it won a year ago.
Colorado 74, Oregon St. 68
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 20 points and Colorado picked up a much-needed win, holding off Oregon State.
Colorado (21-10) needed a couple of wins in Las Vegas to boost its NCAA chances and got off to a good start by dominating Oregon State defensively most of the second half.
Xavier Johnson had 16 points and Andre Roberson 12 for the fifth-seeded Buffaloes, who moved on to face No. 4 seed Arizona in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Roberto Nelson had 20 points and Eric Moreland had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Oregon State (14-18), which went 3 for 17 from three-point range.
Utah 69, USC 66
Jarred DuBois scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half, Jordan Loveridge had 15 points, and Utah opened with a victory over short-handed USC.
Utah (14-17) hounded USC defensively in the first half and withstood a couple of second-half runs by the Trojans to earn a spot in Thursday’s quarterfinals against second-seeded California.
USC (14-18) gave the Utes a run despite playing without leading rebounder Dewayne Dedmon and backup center James Blasczyk, who were suspended indefinitely for violating team rules.