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ASU’s season comes to an end in the first round of Pac-12 tournament against Stanford

ASU's tournament run ended on a buzzer beater from Stanford junior James Keefe

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Graduate Student guard Marreon Jackson (3) goes to layup the ball against Stanford during the Pac-12 tournament at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March. 9, 2022. ASU lost 70-71.


Pac-12 Tournament, Stanford — March 9 (L 71-70)

ASU traveled to Las Vegas to take on Stanford in the first round of the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball tournament. In the win or go home style of play, the ninth-ranked Cardinal stunned the eight-ranked Sun-Devils  71-70, winning on a buzzer beater. 

The first half seemed to be back-and-forth between the two teams. Despite ASU’s 7-for-15 shooting from three-point range, Stanford was able to keep up. Junior James Keefe scored Stanford’s first two points and ASU answered right back a few seconds later off of a three pointer by sophomore DJ Horne

The Sun Devils managed to go on a 7-0 run, but Stanford kept it close, making the halftime score 31-27 in ASU’s favor. 

The second half was a different story, as ASU came out hot, starting with a three pointer by sophomore Jay Heath.  Amidst ASU’s  6-0 scoring run, was a Horne three-pointer and steal in back-to-back plays causing Stanford’s head coach Jerod Haase to call a timeout. 

The Sun Devils’ defense held up again, causing the Cardinal to go almost three minutes without a field goal.  An impressive dunk late in the game by graduate student Kimani Lawrence was a statement play for the Sun Devils, giving the traveling student section reason to cheer. 

Just when ASU seemed to be cruising along, the momentum started to shift in Stanford’s favor late in the game, as they ended on a 16-1 run to come back and won the game by a single point. A

SU had one final chance to score with 30 seconds left, but they weren’t able to capitalize. Instead, Stanford got the rebound and ran down the court. Keefe scored the game winning shot for Stanford. 

This left fans in attendance shocked, as ASU held the lead for the majority of the game, even being up by 17 in the second half. 

“The last three minutes we were a complete mess out there,” said head coach Bobby Hurley. “That’s why our season came to an end.” 

Horne led the Sun Devils in scoring with 21 points, while graduate student Marreon Jackson also contributed 14 points. For the Cardinal, junior Spencer Jones carried the load offensively with 26 points. 

Perhaps the most impressive stat of the night was ASU’s three-point shooting. The team found success behind the arc, shooting 54% from that range. 

ASU men’s basketball will finish the season with an 14-17 overall record. 

Written by Avianna Hoppes, March 9, 3:55 p.m. 

Stanford — March 5 (W 65-56)

 On Senior Night in Tempe, the Sun Devils played their final regular-season game this afternoon, defeating the visiting Stanford Cardinal 65-56. 

After today’s game, ASU has now won four straight and six of their last seven. ASU also held a ceremony before the game to honor graduating seniors Kimani Lawrence and Marreon Jackson

Jackson gave the Sun Devils their first points of the game with a two-point jumper. After that, the two teams went back and forth, with Stanford leading for the majority of the first half, however, ASU was able to pull within two at the half. The second half was a different story, with ASU outscoring Stanford 35-24 in the second. 

Late in the second half, ASU started to run away with it, as the team shot 52% from field goal range and managed to make it to the free-throw line 13 times. 

On the final basket for the Sun Devils, Lawrence made a flashy dunk off of a fast break, which gave the fans at Desert Financial Arena something to cheer about. 

Three Sun Devils had double-digit scoring today. Jackson led the team in scoring with 18 points. Junior Jalen Graham recorded 16 points as well as three rebounds and two assists, while sophomore DJ Horne had 12 points. 

For the visiting Cardinal, junior Spencer Jones and sophomore Brandon Angel had 14 points each, making them the team’s top scorers. 

One of the biggest difference-makers in the game was free throws, which is something that ASU has struggled with all season. Although ASU only shot 72% from the line, that was huge compared to Stanford’s dismal 53%. 

After today’s win, ASU finishes the regular season with a record of 14-16. They will finish eighth in the Pac-12 conference, while Stanford is ninth. ASU will begin the Pac-12 tournament next week on March 9, in Las Vegas.

 —Written by Avianna Hoppes, March 5, 6:46 p.m. 

Colorado — Feb. 24 (W 82-65)

 After a decent effort in Los Angeles against UCLA on Monday, ASU came out firing on all cylinders leading the game by as much as 26 and beat Colorado 82-65 on Thursday.

Before tip-off, Colorado had won five straight games and owned an 11-4 record at home, but none of that seemed to matter for ASU.

ASU is without question playing its best basketball of the season, especially on the offensive end. The Sun Devils shot 53% from three (9-for-17) and shot 87% from the free-throw line (13-for-15). Similar to its best game of the year candidate against Oregon, they shot an eye-opening 55% from the floor (16-for-29) in the second half.

All season long, the defensive effort has been the strong suit for the Sun Devils, but the main reason for their turnaround has been their offensive explosion. 

What could be considered the “Big 3” as of late for ASU, graduate senior forward Marreon Jackson (17 points), junior forward Jalen Graham (14 points) and sophomore guard Jay Heath (18 points) all stepped up in the win.

After falling behind 5-0 early on, ASU would easily crawl back from its largest deficit of the game, going on two massive runs (11-0 and 11-1) in the final 10 minutes of the first half to take a 37-26 lead at halftime.

Another big storyline for ASU was its advantage in rebounds (38-26) and steals (9-6), with Jackson having a season-high 5 steals of his own. 

After an impressive first half, ASU came out with a stronger second half, a common trend that has been in the works over the past few games. It didn’t really matter what kind of defense ASU played because it shot over 50% from the field and from the three-point line, and shot a perfect 9-for-9 from the free-throw line. 

After leading 72-46 with a little over six minutes left, ASU was able to get everyone on the roster sometime on the floor for the final minutes.

ASU (11-16) will cap off its three-game road trip against Utah (11-17) on Saturday night and will look to win five of its last six games, something ASU hasn’t done all season.

Written by Austin Scott, Feb. 25, 9:47 a.m. 

UCLA — Feb. 21 (L 66-52)

 ASU men's basketball took on No. 12 UCLA Monday night in Los Angeles. Despite a late offensive push from ASU, UCLA managed to come away with a 66-52 win. 

The Bruins came in hungry for a win, after losing in triple overtime the last time these two teams met. 

ASU started out slow, quickly getting down 32-15 with just over three minutes remaining in the first. One bright spot in what was an ugly first half for the Sun Devils was the great finish by graduate student guard Marreon Jackson. Jackson had a steal which was quickly followed by two made free throws and a layup to close out the first half. 

At the start of the second half, sophomore guard DJ Horne made a jumper that quickly resulted in a 24-10 run for ASU. A layup by graduate student Kimani Lawrence put ASU within one, however, UCLA was able to pull away after that. 

ASU's scoring offense was quiet, as no player recorded more than nine points. Jackson, Horne, and sophomore Jay Heath led the team with nine points each. Junior Jalen Graham was unusually quiet tonight, only contributing eight points on 4-9 shooting. 

The biggest difference for ASU from the first half to the second was their improvement in shooting. In the first, the Sun Devils only shot 12.5% from the three-point range and 35% on field goals, compared to a much better 36% three-point shooting and 45% from the field in the second. 

For the Bruins, senior Jules Bernard and sophomore Jaylen Clark led their team with 16 points each. Junior Jamie Jaquez had a double-double with 13 points and ten rebounds. 

The Sun Devils will look to rebound from this loss when they travel to Boulder to take on Colorado Thursday night. 

Written by Avianna Hoppes, Feb. 21, 10:19 p.m. 

Oregon — Feb. 17 (W 81-57)

On the same night that ASU debuted its Honoring Black Excellence jerseys, they unleashed its largest margin of victory and one of its best offensive performances of the season. 

The Sun Devils did more than enough to take care of business in Tempe on Thursday, as they went on to beat down the Ducks 81-57 for its first Pac-12 team sweep of the season. 

Less than two minutes into the game, graduate student forward Marreon Jackson checked in and completely took over with offensive prowess, starting the game off 4-for-4 from three and scoring 14 of ASU’s first 19 points. Jackson went on to score a season-high 16 first-half points in 15 minutes to give ASU a 36-30 lead at the half.

“Our shot selection was definitely way better than it’s been in most recent games and we knocked them down today which made it that much more good,” Jackson said. “I feel like we were just very efficient from the field in general, and that’s going to help us win a lot of games.”

Jackson came off the bench on Jan. 29 against UA after struggling in the starting lineup beforehand. Since becoming the newly-designated sixth man for ASU, Jackson has shown the confidence from the perimeter that ASU brought him here for.

The ASU defense once again came out on top, holding Oregon to under 20% from the 3-point line and just about 8% (1-for-13) from three in the first half. 

“I think when you combine both ends of the floor and you talk about just the effort we were giving defensively and how we were playing offense and the shots we were getting, the shots we were converting… it was as good a performance as we’ve had all year,” head coach Bobby Hurley said.

After a vicious dunk by junior guard Jalen Graham and an alley-oop from sophomore guard DJ Horne to graduate student forward Kimani Lawrence on back-to-back plays, ASU broke out to a 68-48 lead and had all of Desert Financial Arena on its feet.

The storyline of the night was Jackson, Graham, Horne and Lawrence combining for 66 of the team’s 81 points. In the second half, Graham had 14 points while Horne and Lawrence each put up 12 points.

With such a large lead, it was one of the few times that ASU was able to play loose and have a little fun, and Graham took advantage of that with a behind-the-back pass and his first 3-pointer of the season.

“I’m just playing my game, you know, to be honest, just having fun out there. All smiles. It was a fun game,” Graham said.

ASU (9-15) will look to finish off an Oregon-style sweep and capture its 10th win of the season on Saturday when they play Oregon State (3-21) in Tempe.

Written by Austin Scott, Feb. 17, 10:41 p.m. 

Washington State — Feb. 12 (W 58-55)

After suffering its worst offensive performance since 1946 to Washington State on Dec. 1, ASU came out seeking revenge and pulled out a much-needed 58-55 win on Saturday night.

It was a strong defensive effort from the Sun Devils that put them over the top, as they held the Cougars to 31% from the field and 30% from three. On offense, a key performance came from redshirt junior Luther Muhammad, who finished with a season-high 12 points and 8 rebounds off the bench.

In the first half, WSU jumped out to a 22-17 lead before going on a scoring drought for over four minutes, which allowed ASU to go on a 6-0 run to take a 23-22 lead with 06:05 left.

WSU shot under 30% from the field and from three in the first half, and its offensive struggles showed some resemblance to ASU’s horrific 10-point first half back on Dec. 1 when the two teams played.

The difference-maker for ASU was points off the bench, as they would outscore WSU 33-14 in the category primarily led by Muhammad and graduate student guard Marreon Jackson, who finished with 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting. 

WSU senior guard Michael Flowers has been on a tear as of late, averaging 18.8 points per game on 47.2% shooting his last four games. On Saturday, Flowers put up 6 points on 2-for-9 shooting and 2-for-8 from the three, painting the overall picture for the rest of WSU’s offensive performance.

ASU had a 58-52 lead with 01:21 left to go, but with a travel by Muhammad and sophomore guard DJ Horne stepping out of bounds, WSU had a chance to tie up the game on a 3-pointer in the final seconds but failed to convert.

ASU (8-15) will come back to Tempe for a two-game Pac-12 homestand starting on Thursday against Oregon, followed by Oregon State on Saturday.

Written by Austin Scott, Feb. 12, 11:45 p.m.

Washington — Feb. 10 (L 87-64)

The Sun Devils traveled north to Seattle to take on the Huskies Thursday night. The game resulted in a 64-87 loss for ASU, their second straight loss. 

Unlike the past two games, things started off slow for ASU. Their first field goal didn’t come until almost three minutes into the game off of a layup by graduate student forward Kimani Lawrence

There weren’t many bright spots for ASU in this game, however, one finally did come with 8:38 left in the first half when Lawrence blocked three straight shot attempts. 

To add to the Sun Devils’ struggles, the team did not score any points in the final three-and-a-half minutes of the game. That was one of multiple long scoring droughts for ASU. 

ASU had a horrendous shooting night, making only 39.4% of their attempts from field goal range and only 22.7% from behind the three-point line. To make things even worse, ASU went 7-12 from the free-throw line, making 58.3%. The Sun Devils are currently the worst free-throw shooting team in the Pac-12.

Once again, ASU got into foul trouble, giving their opponent more attempts at the line, a common theme for this Sun-Devils squad this season. They committed 21 personal fouls, compared to Washington’s 11. 

Lawrence led the team with 15 points and six rebounds. Despite the loss, he was very consistent, shooting 60% from field-goal range. Junior Jalen Graham came close to a double-double, recording 14 points and eight rebounds. 

For the Huskies, graduate student Terrell Brown Jr. led all scorers with 19 points, while junior PJ Fuller contributed 16 points as well. 

Bobby Hurley and his team will continue this Pacific Northwest road trip when they take on Washington State this Saturday, Feb. 12 in Pullman. 

Written by Avianna Hoppes, Feb. 11, 10:51 a.m. 

UA — Feb. 7 (L 91-79)

ASU took on No. 4 UA Monday night in a packed Desert Financial Arena, for their second and final meeting this season between the two rivals.  What started out as a close game in the first half, quickly turned ugly for the Sun Devils, as the Wildcats went home with a 91-79 win. 

The Sun-Devils got off to a hot start thanks to the team's electric shooting. ASU started the game shooting 5-7 from field goal range and 4-5 from behind the arc to give them a quick 14-1 lead over their rivals. This hot scoring streak included a power dunk by junior Jalen Graham that got the packed student section fired-up. 

Unfortunately for ASU, UA was able to comeback after going on a 7-0 run towards the end of the first half. However, freshman Jamiya Neal ended the half with a steal and a dunk. ASU trailed 36-40 at the half. 

The second half was a different story for ASU. UA got off to a hot start, coming out on a 12-2 run, which included a lob to sophomore Bennedict Mathurin. This trend continued for the rest of the game as the Wildcats ran away with it in the second half, causing Sun-Devil fans to head home early in a mass-exodus. ASU got into foul trouble early, committing 21 fouls, giving UA 23 attempts from the line. 

This is the fourth straight loss against Arizona, with the last win coming back in the 2020 season. ASU will not be able to get redemption for this loss as this is the last time these teams are scheduled to meet each other this season, unless they happen to face each other again in the Pac-12 tournament at the end of the season. 

Sophomore Jay Heath and graduate student Marreon Jackson led the team in scoring with 16 points each. Jackson celebrated hitting 2,000 career points tonight against the Wildcats.  Sophomore DJ Horne also contributed to ASU’s offense with 11 points.

Once again, ASU struggled from the free-throw line, only making 66% of their attempts. To make things worse, Graham and freshman Enoch Boakye fouled out after reaching the limit of five personal fouls. 

For the Wildcats, sophomore Azuolas Tubelis had a team high of 19 points and eleven rebounds, good for a double-double. Mathurin also contributed 18 points. 

Monday’s loss puts ASU at a record of 7-14, placing them at ninth in the Pac-12. The Sun-Devils will look for their next win on Thursday, Feb. 10, when they take on the University of Washington in Seattle. 

Written by Avianna Hoppes, Feb. 7, 10:29 p.m. 

UCLA — Feb. 6 (W 87-84 [3OT])

 Fans at Desert Financial Arena witnessed a nailbiter as ASU took on No. 3 UCLA in a packed arena Saturday night for what could be the game of the year. After playing in three overtimes, the Sun Devils finally emerged victorious, securing a close 87-84 upset win over the Bruins.

The start of the game gave the packed student section reason to cheer as ASU won the opening tip-off. A dunk by junior Alonzo Gaffney was quickly followed for the game's first bucket. 

UCLA went on a 7-0 run midway through the first to put them up 26-19, however, ASU was able to answer with a 7-0 run of their own. Graduate student Marreon Jackson scored back-to-back buckets, including a three-pointer to tie the game at 28 apiece with three minutes remaining in the first. The packed crowd in Tempe was absolutely ecstatic when freshman Enoch Boakye blocked  UCLA's shot attempt, right before sophomore DJ Horne hit the go-ahead three-pointer to close out the half.  

ASU started off dominating the second half. One of many highlights included a vicious dunk by junior Jalen Graham.  

Unfortunately for the Sun-Devils, UCLA staged a late-game comeback, with senior Cody Riley tying it up at 56 with three minutes remaining. After that, it was back and forth between the two teams causing the game to head to overtime. 

Not one or two, but rather three overtimes were played until a winner was finally declared. In the first, UCLA junior Jamie Jaquez Jr. threw the ball out of bounds on the final play to send it to a second overtime. 

Graham had a huge dunk to carry momentum for ASU in the second but UCLA was able to answer and they managed to tie it up.   

Finally, in the third overtime, ASU managed to lead at the buzzer after they managed to open up a small gap between them and UCLA. Horne started off the third overtime with a three-pointer and ASU took control after that.   Fans stormed the court for the long-awaited three-point victory. 

UCLA's Jaquez Jr. led all scorers with 27 points, while Jackson had a team-high 24 for ASU. Graham also posted a double-double with 16 points and ten rebounds. 

ASU's next game will be on Monday, Feb. 7, when they host No. 7 Arizona in Tempe for the second meeting this season between the two teams. 

Written by Avianna Hoppes, Feb. 5, 11:59 p.m.

USC — Feb. 3 (L 58-53)

The Sun Devils played behind a career-best performance from junior forward Jalen Graham, a strong all-around defensive effort and a roaring Thursday night crowd, but still found a way to fall short in the final seconds to the No. 19 Trojans for the second time in 10 days.

ASU was down by three with 12 seconds remaining when sophomore guard DJ Horne shot and missed a questionable midrange floater, sending ASU home by a final score of 58-53 despite making heroic defensive plays throughout the game. ASU forced a total of 14 turnovers and blocked 11 shots.

“We had a timeout and talked about trying to make a three because we were down by three and there wasn’t really enough time unless you get a really quick two, to foul, and try and hope they miss,” head coach Bobby Hurley said. “But yeah, we shouldn’t have taken that shot inside the 3-point line.”

Once USC jumped out to an early 14-2 lead after two early 3-pointers from junior guard Boogie Ellis, it looked like the season theme of offensive woes would take ASU out quick and early until they went on a motivating 22-12 run for the rest of the first half. ASU forced seven first-half turnovers, with each turnover garnering louder cheers and more momentum.

ASU’s tenacious defensive effort rolled into the start of the second half led by blocks on back-to-back USC possessions from junior forward Alonzo Gaffney and graduate student forward Kimani Lawrence to give ASU a 28-27 lead, it’s first of the game

A layup by Graham, who would go on to score a career-high 19 points, gave ASU a 40-32 lead near the halfway point of the second half, but a late defensive adjustment by USC made them victorious at the end.

“When it was 40-32 we could have really extended our lead and we just didn’t handle the zone well for two to three minutes there and just stopped making shots,” Hurley said. “We were on a little bit of a roll to get to 40 and then when they went zone and kind of took away our inside game we couldn’t hit perimeter shots and that’s kind of been the theme for us this year.”

Graham and Lawrence both scored in double-figures during the second half, but it was Ellis, who finished with 21 points, and junior forward Isaiah Mobley who scored the final 12 points for USC in the final minutes of the game.

ASU had lost its previous two games to USC on Jan. 24 and No. 7 UA on Saturday, and is currently in the midst of a five-game span against ranked teams, the first Pac-12 team since the 2001-02 season to do so; the last team also being ASU. 

“The way I look at it is we are playing these really good teams and we are in really close games,” Lawrence said. “Once our offense catches up to our defense we are going to be a really scary team to play.”

ASU (6-13) will have its next opportunity to snap out of its four-game losing streak when they take on No. 3 UCLA on Saturday for the first time this season in Tempe.

Written by Austin Scott, Feb. 3, 11:43 p.m. 

UA — Jan. 29 (L 67-56)

ASU headed down I-10 to Tucson and took on No. 3 UA Saturday afternoon, for the first of two matchups this season for the in-state rivals. Despite having a strong first half from ASU, UA managed to pull out a 67-56 victory. This marks the third-straight loss for the Sun Devils against their rival. 

The first points of the game came less than a minute in when junior Jalen Graham made a two-point jump shot to give ASU an early lead. This lead continued for the Sun Devils until halfway through the first when Arizona was finally able to catch up. With 7:33 remaining in the first, UA sophomore Bennedict Mathurin tied the game up with a pair of free throws off from a foul committed by ASU freshman Enoch Boakye

For the rest of the first half, ASU was able to keep a small lead until UA managed to tie it up again at halftime at 32 apiece. Despite the close first half, the Wildcats never led in the first 20 minutes.  

This trend continued in the beginning of the second half when sophomore Jay Heath made a three pointer on the team’s first possession of the half. After that, it was all downhill for ASU as UA began to catch up.  

The Wildcats managed to finally get their first lead in the game when Mathurin hit a pair of free throws with just over 17 minutes remaining. After that, it was all UA for the rest of the game. The Wildcats continued to extend their lead until the final buzzer. 

Sophomore DJ Horne  was dominant the entire game for ASU. He led all scorers with 17 points and five rebounds, while Heath added 10 points and four rebounds.  

UA was able to run away with the game in the later minutes once ASU got into foul trouble, sending UA to the line 32 times compared to ASU’s 15 attempts.  

After today’s loss, ASU now sits at a record of 6-12, placing them ninth in the Pac-12. ASU will try to end their three-game losing streak against Arizona when these two teams meet again on Feb. 7, this time in Tempe. 

Written by Avianna Hoppes, Jan. 29, 3:24 p.m. 

USC — Jan. 24 (L 78-56)

 ASU started the toughest part of its schedule when it took on No. 15 USC Monday night at a half-full Galen Center in Los Angeles. Despite getting off to a slow start in the first half, the Trojans still managed to beat the shorthanded Sun Devils 78-56.

ASU was without head coach Bobby Hurley and sophomore guard Jay Heath due to suspension. The duo was suspended for “inappropriate conduct toward the officiating crew”  during Saturday’s loss to Stanford. The team was also without several other players due to injury/illness, such as graduate student Kimani Lawernce and sophomore Marcus Bagley.

The Sun Devils got off to a hot start, leading 20-8 after junior Jalen Graham got the basket-and-one.

After that, it was all USC for the rest of the game. After making back-to-back shots to bring the Trojans back in the game, junior forward Isaiah Mobley, hit the game-tying 3-pointer to bring the score to 22 apiece with just over four minutes remaining in the first half.  His teammate, junior guard Boogie Ellis, then hit the go-ahead shot, putting USC up by two. 

Graduate student Marreon Jackson led all scorers in the game with 21 points. Jackson got off to a hot start, scoring eight of ASU’s first 15 points.  

For the Trojans, senior guard Drew Peterson led his team with 16 points and eight rebounds. Mobley also contributed 12 points and seven rebounds. 

Despite being a terrible free-throw shooting team all season, ASU managed to make 80% of their shots from the line tonight. Getting to the line was still an issue, as the team only had five attempts compared to USC’s 19, who was fouled 18 times tonight. 

Since ASU was so shorthanded tonight, some unusual faces got some playing time. Freshman, Bobby Hurley Jr., son of the head coach, made his ASU debut with about a minute remaining. Junior Micah Burno also played in his second game for ASU. 

ASU (now 6-11) will continue the gauntlet by taking on No. 3 Arizona in Tucson on Saturday, Jan. 29, followed by three more ranked opponents in USC again, No. 8 UCLA, and Arizona.

Written by Avianna Hoppes, Jan. 25, 11:57 a.m. 

Stanford — Jan. 22 (L 79-76)

With no fans at the Maples Pavilion on Saturday, ASU men’s basketball had many moments of standing around in silence due to free throws and despite a valiant second-half effort, Stanford would go on to win by a heartbreaking final score of 79-76.

ASU came out the gate with a 15-10 lead, as sophomore guard DJ Horne opened up the scoring for ASU with back-to-back 3-pointers. The first half could be described as three chapters: ASU, the turning point and Stanford.

After ASU lost its lead in the final seven minutes of the first half, Stanford would expand its  25-24 lead with 06:52 to end the first half with a 42-32 lead.

Stanford was led in the first half by freshman forward Harrison Ingram with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists followed by 8 points from sophomore guard Michael O’Connell.

Less than a minute into the second half, ASU head coach Bobby Hurley picked up a technical foul and not even two minutes later, Horne would pick up a technical foul and go to the locker room. Turns out this was foreshadowing something much more positive.

The last fifteen minutes of the second half was debatably the most electrifying basketball ASU has played all season. After trailing 56-41 with 15:16 left in the second half, ASU would go on a 24-5 run over the next 10 minutes to take a 65-61 lead due to aggressive defense, athleticism, shots falling and pounding the glass for rebounds.

Junior forward Jalen Graham led the charge with 14 second-half points and 4 rebounds, followed by graduate student guard Marreon Jackson with 8 second-half points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. 

Even with a great stretch of play to retake the lead, the theme of the game ultimately came back to haunt them, as Stanford would end up making 11 free throws in the final three and a half minutes of the game. 

In the final seconds of a 76-76 game, Graham fouled sophomore forward Brandon Angel while launching a corner three from the left-wing. Angel went on to knock down all three free throws to take a 79-76 lead, with sophomore guard Jay Heath missing a full-court heave to end the game. 

ASU (6-10) now travels to Los Angeles to take on the No. 16 USC Trojans on Monday before they take on the No. 3 Arizona Wildcats next Saturday.

Written by Austin Scott, Jan. 22, 11:33 p.m. 

Utah — Jan. 17 (W 64-62)

 ASU men’s basketball pulled out a close win, 64-62, against Utah on Monday, Jan. 17, in what was the Sun Devils' second game back from their COVID-19 pause. 

ASU graduate student Kimani Lawrence led the team with 18 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Sophomore DJ Horne also contributed 13 points, one assist and four rebounds. 

ASU as a team shot 42% from the field and  27% from the three-point line. The team was sent to the free-throw line 12 times but only made three of them. Free throw shooting remains a point of struggle for the Sun Devils all season. 

For the Utes, senior David Jenkins Jr. led the offense with 14 points and two assists. 

As a team, Utah shot 35% on field goals and 25% from behind the arc. The Utes won the free-throw battle, making 17 of 20. 

The first half was close, but Jenkins gave the Utes a two-point lead at halftime when he nailed a three-pointer at the end of the half. 

It remained a close game in the second half as well, with the score being tied at 62 when ASU called a timeout with 19 seconds remaining. After the timeout, junior Jalen Graham made a two-point jump shot, for what would be the difference-maker in the final score. 

On the final play of the game,  sophomore Jay Heath blocked Jenkins' three-point attempt as time expired. 

After today’s win, ASU improves to a record of 6-9, good for ninth in the Pac-12, while Utah drops to 8-10,  last in the conference. 

This was ASU’s first win in over a month, with its last one coming against Creighton on Dec. 14. The team will look to extend its winning streak to two games when it takes on Stanford on Jan. 22 in Palo Alto. 

Written by Avianna Hoppes, Jan. 17, 6:47 p.m. 

Colorado — Jan. 15 (L 75-57)

It's not often that a college basketball team plays just two games in 26 days over a two-month period, and the Colorado Buffaloes are not an easy way to hop back into the schedule.

The rust was evident as Colorado trampled ASU 75-57 in Tempe on Saturday night.

Former ASU legend Ike Diogu was honored by having his jersey raised in the rafters during halftime, adding a little more importance to this game. Diogu averaged 21.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game during his college career, and was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2003 and 2005, respectively

“I knew they’d (the players) be enthusiastic to play and I’m extremely happy for Ike and his family to go through that and to have this great honor,” said head coach Bobby Hurley. “So that was awesome to honor him and he’s such a great player here and a great supporter of our program.”

Having not played a game in 13 days, ASU predictably started slow, going 3-for-14 shooting and 1-for-7 from three in the first half. Colorado got off to a hot start and a 16-7 lead, led by a nine-point outburst from sophomore forward Jabari Walker.

ASU then responded quickly with an 8-0 run to make it 16-15, led by redshirt junior forward Luther Muhammad (5 points) and junior forward Jalen Graham (4 points). 

ASU’s shooting has been problematic throughout the entire season, and it showed up again against Colorado. Tenacious and aggressive defensive effort –four first-half steals and three blocks – kept a lackluster offense only trailing 37-34 at the end of the half. ASU went 11-for-30 shooting and 3-for-11 from behind the arc.

After trading baskets back-and-forth to start the second half, Colorado shot 5-for-7 from three to propel to a 56-45 lead. 

Slowly but surely, Colorado extended its lead in the latter end of the second half to come away with a 75-57 win. Walker led the way with 18 points on 7-for-14 shooting, followed by senior forward Evan Battey with 11 points on 5-for-9 shooting.

ASU had a balanced attack on both the offensive end, highlighted by a 16-point, 5 rebound effort from Graham, and 15 points from sophomore guard Jay Heath.

ASU men’s basketball will have a chance for a bounce-back game against Utah on Monday in Tempe and will look to avoid falling to double-digits in the loss column in January for the first time since the 2016-17 season.

Written by Austin Scott, Jan. 15, 11:22 p.m. 


Reach the reporters at ascott43@asu.edu and ahoppes1@asu.edu and follow @Austinscott_16 and @AviannaHoppes on Twitter.

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Austin ScottSports Reporter

Austin Scott is a sports reporter majoring in Sports Journalism, and has been writing sports stories for three years. He looks to continue writing impactful, engaging sports stories for years to come. In the future, Austin wants to use his outgoing personality to do play-by-play and live sports production or sports radio and podcasting.


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