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Things continue to go the way of the Arizona State Sun Devils. 

ASU capped off another strong week of basketball with a 63-61 win over the Utah Utes on Saturday night in Salt Lake City. Marreon Jackson delivered a go-ahead layup with six seconds remaining to help the Sun Devils avoid a late collapse.

Despite being without their leading scorer, DJ Horne, ASU used a balanced scoring attack to eke out another Pac-12 win. Jay Heath led the way with 20 points, while Jalen Graham added 15. 

The Sun Devils have now won five of their last six to improve to 12-16 (8-10 Pac-12).


G Marreon Jackson
G Jay Heath
F Jalen Graham
F Kimani Lawrence
F Alonzo Gaffney

It was a slight tweak to the typical starting five for the Sun Devils. Jackson slid into the starting lineup after Horne was listed questionable to play with a non-COVID illness.

First-Half Recap

Coming off a dominant 82-65 win over Colorado, Arizona State looked to keep the momentum going against the Utes. 

Both Lawrence and Heath were strong in the opening five minutes with a quick four points apiece. That gave the Sun Devils a 9-8 lead heading into the first media timeout.

Heath's smooth touch continued as he upped his scoring to a team-high eight points. That was on a healthy 3-for-5 clip from the field. That also kept ASU even with the Utes at 18-all with just under 12 minutes left in the half.

And while Heath shouldered the scoring load for the Sun Devils, it was Marco Anthony that stepped up for Utah. The guard was a near-perfect 5-for-6 from the floor and had racked up a game-high 11 points. 

That translated into a 28-28 tie with just under four minutes left in the opening period. 

The closing minutes of the half highlighted a similar weakness for both sides: the three-point line. The teams traded missed opportunities from deep as neither found their groove from behind the arc. 

All in all, the sides combined to shoot 6-for-29 on threes in the first half.

Arizona State manage to get some breathing room as it hit the locker room. The Sun Devils led the Utes 33-30 after the opening half. Lawrence, Heath and Graham combined to score 25 of the Sun Devils' 33 points. Luther Muhammad also chipped in eight points off the bench. 

Second-Half Recap

Once again, it was Lawrence and Heath that kicked off the scoring. A pair of layups upped Lawrence to 10 points, while Heath added a jumper to sit at 11 points. ASU took a 41-36 lead after the first media timeout of the half.

The Sun Devils' offense continued to produce as the half continued. A 6-2 run by ASU grew the lead to 47-38 and force the Utes to burn a timeout. 

Despite some poor three-point shooting (3-for-16), the Sun Devils were shooting exactly 50% from the field. 

That hot-shooting would push the ASU lead to 52-38. The team was also working defensively as Utah went over four minutes without a basket. 

But that didn't close the door on the Utes. They had an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 52-45 by midway through the second half. 

Again, it would be Heath that saved the Sun Devils. The guard nailed a pair of three-pointers to put ASU back in a comfortable spot. The second triple boosted Heath's scoring to a game-high 20 points.

Almost on cue, it was Anthony who stepped for Utah. The guard scored four straight points to push the Utes back in the game. The Sun Devils led 59-52 with just over three minutes left.

That roll would continue for Utah as Branden Carlson capped off a 7-0 run with a timely three-pointer. Even more important, that shot tied the game at 59 with 1:04 remaining in the game.

Graham, who entered the game as a 52.7% shooter from the free-throw line, didn't waver in the clutch. The big man drilled a pair at the charity stripe to put Arizona State ahead 61-59. Anthony tied the game again for Utah with a slam.

The final possession for Sun Devils was a display of the speed and athleticism for Jackson. The guard drove past his defender for a scoop-and-score that put ASU ahead 63-61 with six seconds on the clock.

Utah's final hope was short as Rollie Worster missed a shot in the closing seconds. For the Sun Devils, that miss was more about avoiding a late collapse rather than pulling out a victory.

Stat Leaders

Points: Heath (20)
Assists: Jackson (6)
Rebounds: Jackson, Neal (6)

What's Next

ASU gets some much-needed rest as it returns to Tempe for a home stand against the Bay Area schools. The Sun Devils host Cal on Thursday, March 3 at 6 p.m. Arizona time. The Golden Bears beat Arizona State 74-50 when the teams met on Jan. 2.