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Recap: Arizona State Falls to Baylor in Battle 4 Atlantis Opening Round

It was a lopsided matchup on paper, although the Arizona State Sun Devils managed to put up a tough fight in the first 10 minutes of their loss to the Baylor Bears.

It was quite a start to the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. 

Michigan State-Loyola came down to a game-winning shot with only seconds left on the clock, UCONN took down Auburn in double overtime, and VCU powered through Syracuse for an upset win. 

The final game of the evening came down to Arizona State-Baylor, and it didn't disappoint. 

Well, at least for the first 10 minutes.

Baylor, coming into the game undefeated and ranked No. 6 in the country, had averaged 88.5 points per contest with an average margin of victory of 34.75 points. 

With no Marcus Bagley (knee) for the entire tournament, the Sun Devils were double-digit underdogs to one of the best teams in the nation. 

However, Arizona State came out swinging against the defending NCAA champions.

First-Half Recap


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

Arizona State quickly got out to a hot start, establishing an 11-5 lead over Baylor thanks to an early eight points from Horne. 

Despite trailing the Sun Devils, the Bears stayed active on defense, forcing eight turnovers in the first 10 minutes to eventually take a 19-18 lead that saw Baylor go on an 11-2 run. 

The Bears increased their lead to 31-23 with six minutes to go in the first half, hitting five of seven shots in that stretch. 

Baylor pushed the lead to double digits at 2-27 with a minute remaining, as the Sun Devils went scoreless for over three minutes before Jackson sank a pair of free throws to end the drought. 

Two more Jalen Graham free throws inched the Sun Devils closer with 9.5 seconds left, yet Arizona State finished the final four minutes of the first half with no field goals made and converting just one of its final seven shots.

The Sun Devils trailed Baylor 45-31 heading into the break. Baylor outscored Arizona State on the fast-break 12-2 and ended the half on a 22-8 run. 

Second-Half Recap

Baylor carried its momentum into the second half, maintaining a 53-36 lead at the under-16 media timeout. The Sun Devils were out-rebounded 7-3 during that stretch and had one turnover, as Horne (3) and Muhammad (2) accounted for the only points to begin the second half. 

However, the Bears eventually entered their own funk, shooting 1-for-7 in a stretch that saw Arizona State go on a small 6-0 run to cut the lead to 55-42. However, the Bears went on a 7-0 run of their own before the under-12 timeout hit to get the lead back to 18.

To that point, Arizona State shot 4-for-77 to begin the second half.

The lead extended to a 20-point difference after an emphatic alley-oop from Baylor with over six minutes left. The Sun Devils eventually brought the total down to 11, but a Baylor three-pointer was the final nail in the coffin with under two minutes left.

Arizona State ultimately lost to the defending champs 75-63, shooting just 35.7% from the floor.

However, there were bright spots in the loss. Horne scored a season-high 20 points and Jackson had a double-double with 11 rebounds and 10 assists, also adding five points. 

Arizona State now takes on Syracuse after both teams lost their opening-round games, with tipoff on Thanksgiving day set for 5:30 Arizona time.