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Sun Devils Cut Bruin 17-Point Lead To One; Fall in Pauley Late

Feb 21, 2022

The Sun Devils men's basketball team (10-16; 6-10) was unable to defeat No. 12 UCLA (20-5; 12-4) for a second time this season despite a second half run that brought them within one point of taking the lead after falling down by as many as 17.

Monday night's action saw a slow start offensively for both teams. The Sun Devils were just 1-of-7 while UCLA was 1-of-6 through the first four minutes of play. This lack of offense manifested into Arizona State struggling to take care of the ball, turning it over nine times in the first half. UCLA took advantage of these turnovers and got their offense going. The Bruins started to string together some possessions and went on a 14-to-6 run which helped them hold onto a solid 34-21 lead at halftime. 

In addition to the turnovers, which UCLA scored 11 first half points on, the Sun Devils only shot 9-of-26 (.346) from the field and were a sluggish 1-of-8 (.125) from the three-point line. Aside from a 6-0 run in the final couple minutes of the first half, there wasn't much offense for the Sun Devils. Marreon Jackson and Luther Muhammad came off the bench and provided some scoring, combining for 13 of the Sun Devils 21 first half points. 

Coming out of the locker room for the second half, the Sun Devils looked like a different team. The offense seemed to find a bit of a rhythm, going on an 11-5 run to make the Bruin lead single digits. DJ Horne was able to get himself going after not scoring a single bucket in the first half. He scored nine quick points, including back-to-back three-pointers that cut the Bruin lead to just six. 

Arizona State flipped the turnover script in the second half, which was a big reason that they were able to get themselves back into the game. They forced five turnovers through the first 12 minutes of the second half and had only given up the ball once. After being down by as much as 17, the Sun Devils looked like they were poised to take the lead after Marreon Jackson made a tough floater, forcing the Bruins to call a timeout and bringing the game within one possession at 46-45 with eight minutes left to play. 

However, the Bruins would come out of the timeout and finish the game on a 20-7 run. Foul trouble proved to be too much for the Sun Devils to overcome as they gave the Bruins 15 chances at the line in the second half. The Bruins hit on 13 of those for a .867 clip. They were 18-of-20 (.900) for the game compared to the Sun Devils, who were just 3-of-4 (.750) for the game. It marked the third time on the season the Sun Devils have shot five free throws or less.

No Sun Devils reached double-digit scoring as DJ Horne, Jay Heath, and Marreon Jackson had nine points each. Jalen Graham chipped in with eight and Luther Muhammad had eight points off the bench as well. 

The Sun Devils will be back in action on Thursday, Feb. 24, when they visit Colorado (18-9, 10-7) in Boulder at 7 p.m. for a Pac-12 Network broadcast.