Arizona St. defense stymies Loyola Marymount 68-44
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Chance Murray was the most fringe of role players on Arizona State's NCAA tournament team last season.
On Thursday, though, Murray broke through with a big game, scoring a team-high 12 points in ASU's 68-44 win over Loyola Marymount Thursday night.
''I'm not really used to playing a lot,'' the 6-foot-2 sophomore guard said. ''It gave me a lot of confidence to get more minutes.''
''This was Chance's best game at Arizona State,'' Sun Devil coach Herb Sendek said.
Other role players on the tournament team that had been led by departed star Jahi Carson included Jonathan Gilling and Bo Barnes with 11 points each and Shaquielle McKissic with 10 points and five rebounds.
The Sun Devils (3-0) were trying to inject life into an anemic offense that had struggled in a 49-39 win Monday over visiting Bethune-Cookman. But they were limited through much of the game by poor ball-handling that cost them 17 turnovers.
''The elephant in the room is the turnovers,'' Sendek said. ''We are turning the ball over way too much.''
The Lions (1-2) were led by Simon Krajcovic and Eric Payne with nine points each.
They shot just 16-for-57 (28 percent), which was ASU's best defensive effort since February of 2010.
''It is really hard on your defense when you cant hit shots,'' coach Mike Dunlap lamented. ''We held the line, but you just cant hold it that long if your offense cant take off some of the pressure. Credit Arizona State, they did a good job.''
The Sun Devils led just 31-26 early in the second half then gradually moved out to double-digit leads. They broke the game open on 3-pointers by Barnes and Gilling and a driving layup by Murray that made it 53-38 with less than 6:00 left.
They stretched the lead to 58-38 with 3:45 left.
Early on, the Sun Devils rolled up a 24-11 lead then the Lions used an aggressive defense to force turnovers and cut the margin to 28-22 at halftime.
McKissic hit a pair of 3-pointers in leading the Devils with eight points at halftime.
Krajcovic led the Lions with seven points at the break.
Another role player from last year's NCAA tournament team for ASU, Eric Jacobsen, had a fine all-around game with seven points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. He now has blocked nine shots on the season, compared to 15 for all of last season.
''Eric Jacobsen is off to a fantastic start,'' Sendek said.
Arizona State: ASU ran up a home record of 32-5 the past two seasons. So, including the game against LMU, the Sun Devils have gone 35-5 since the start of the 2012-13 season. ASU coach Herb Sendek needs two more wins to reach 400 in his career. Once he does, he will be the third-youngest Division 1 coach with 400 (Billy Donovan, Steve Alford). The Sun Devils clamped down on key Lions reserve Payne, who set a school freshman record with 497 points last season then scored a team-high 23 and 22 points, respectively, in their first two games. In this game, he shot 3-for-13 for nine points.
Loyola Marymount: The series between these teams dates to 1937, but this was the first meeting since 1980. Current LMU coach Mike Dunlap played for the Lions in 1980 when ASU had an all-NBA draftee lineup of Byron Scott, Fat Lever, Alton Lister, Sam Williams and Kurt Nimphius. This was LMU's 156th meeting all time vs. current members of the Pac-12. The Lions have faced USC most often (55 times). The last meeting against a member of the Pac-12 came in the first game of the 2011-12 season as the Lions downed No. 17 UCLA.
LMU hosts San Diego Christian on Sunday.
ASU meets Maryland in Kansas City.