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ASU men’s basketball blows late lead in loss against UCLA

UCLA outscored ASU 10-2 over the last 3:45 in Saturday's game


ASU men's basketball coach Bobby Hurley watches a play during the game against UA on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020 in Desert Financial Arena in Tempe. UA won 84-82. 

ASU men’s basketball squandered a late-game lead and fell 80-79 at UCLA Saturday night. 

Despite being without freshman guard Josh Christopher and freshman forward Marcus Bagley, due to injury, the Sun Devils showed no signs of missing the two impact players in the first half.

Senior guards Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge Jr. combined for 27 of the team’s 41 first-half points. Senior guard Holland Woods added six points off of two threes and the ASU team shot 66.7% from deep in the first period.

Head coach Bobby Hurley said Martin had a "really good first half" and also remarked on Verge Jr.'s "better" offensive production.

ASU’s aggressive team defense also stepped up big in the first half, forcing nine turnovers and converting 10 points off of those turnovers.

Despite being outrebounded 19 to 13 in the first half the Sun Devils still found themselves up seven at the break. 

ASU’s hot shooting continued into the second half as it finished the game shooting 50% from deep.

But problems began to arise when sophomore forward Jalen Graham fouled out in just seven minutes of play. Graham finished the night with zero points, one assist and two rebounds. 

Junior forward Chris Osten took over for Graham and finished with four points and two rebounds before he fouled out with under four minutes left to play. 

Hurley subbed in sophomore forward John Olmsted who has only played more than two minutes four times this season.

"The foul trouble was a problem," Hurley said. "JG (Graham), we need him on the floor. (Osten) did a very serviceable job and (Olmsted) came in and did what he could at the end."

The Bruins were able to climb back into the game due to ASU’s poor clock management.

"The one that I didn't like was the three that (Martin) tried. I thought it was a little off balance and a little deep," Hurley said. "He's made a lot of big shots and he had a game going so we wanted the ball in his hands late."

The Bruins finished the game on a 10-2 run and Verge Jr. said he and Martin have to take the blame for the team's lack of offense over the final 3:45.

"At the end of the day it relies on me and (Martin)," Verge Jr. said. "We gotta make better decisions. We took some shots that we make normally. We've gotta get better looks and I feel like we would've been fine."

ASU will look to bounce back against the University of Washington in Tempe on Tuesday at 7 p.m. MST.

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