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Arizona State Returns Home, Falls to San Francisco

The Arizona State Sun Devils, attempting to stretch their winning streak to four games, fell short to a tough San Francisco team on Sunday.

Riding a three-game win streak, the Arizona State Sun Devils returned to Desert Financial Arena to continue their hot run against the San Francisco Dons, who had previously dropped their first game of the season at GCU 49-48 the night before. 

San Francisco, previously the only team in the country to hold a record of 10-0, entered Sunday's game against Arizona State as an incredible shooting team, and the Sun Devils learned that the hard way in a tough 66-65 loss.

Here's how the action panned out:

First-Half Recap

G Marreon Jackson
G DJ Horne
G Luther Muhammad
F Alonzo Gaffney
F Kimani Lawrence 

Arizona State got off to quick start to the game despite the Dons hitting the first bucket of the game. The Sun Devils were ahead for the majority of the first 10 minutes thanks to a 9-0 run once they hit their first basket. 

Led by guard DJ Horne's two deep conversions, the Sun Devils made three of their first four shots from three-point land, eventually leading 11-5 at the under-16 media timeout. 

However, San Francisco battled back and cut the lead by making four of their next five shots. 

Forward Jay Heath stole the ball on two consecutive possessions, each ending in layups to push Arizona State's lead before a quick 6-0 run by San Francisco saw the Dons take the lead (26-25) for the first time since leading 2-0. 

San Francisco switched to a zone defense and went on a 14-0 run that lasted nearly six minutes, as Arizona State turned the ball over four times and missed all eight shot attempts during that time. 

A three-point shot by forward Jamiya Neal ended that streak with 3:08 left in the half. 

Although the Sun Devils eventually battled back to tie the game with little time remaining in the first half, it was San Francisco that would head into the break as leaders thanks to a turnover by Heath that led to the Dons converting an easy layup with only two seconds remaining. 

San Francisco led Arizona State at the halftime, 36-34. 

The Dons were helped by superb shooting, as they converted 46% of their shots from the field with a 50% hit rate from downtown. Eighteen bench points also made a difference for the Dons. 

As for Arizona State, the Sun Devils made only two of their last shots from the field to end the half. 

Second-Half Recap

Both teams exchanged blows to begin the second half, as Arizona State eventually trailed the Dons 42-40 with 14:51 left.

A quick three-point shot by Horne followed by a transition layup from Heath ignited the crowd before a deep three from San Francisco's Khalil Shabazz again brought the noise level down at Desert Financial Arena. 

Dons forward Josh Kunen fouled out with 10 minutes to play, and scored seven points before he left the game. 

Arizona State carried a 53-52 lead into a media timeout with 8:22 left. Up to that point, the game had a tie or lead change 14 times since the second half began. 

The Sun Devils took a 60-54 lead with under five minutes to play, and were again energized by the home crowd, going on a 7-0 run that saw San Francisco go on a three-minute scoring drought.

That was quickly erased by a 9-0 run from the Dons, finished by back-to-back threes to push San Francisco ahead 63-60 with 2:54 remaining. 

With 1:36 left, Heath hit a three-pointer to put the Sun Devils ahead 65-63. 

Still at the same score, point guard Marreon Jackson missed a free-throw attempt with 30 seconds remaining. 

The Dons regained possession and drew a shooting foul with 12.1 seconds remaining, as forward Kimani Lawrence was fooled by a pump-fake from a three-point shooter. 

San Francisco forward Dzmitry Ryuny sank all three shots to put the Dons ahead 66-65 with 12.1 seconds remaining. 

After a jump ball on the following possession, Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley called a timeout with 4.5 seconds remaining to draw up one final play. 

The ball went into the hands of ASU's most reliable scorer in Horne, yet the shot miss ed the mark and the Dons held on as the buzzer sounded. 

What's Next

The turnaround for Arizona State will be a short one, as the Sun Devils return home to Desert Financial Arena on Tuesday at 3 pm Arizona time against Florida A&M.