After such a heartbreaking loss to UC Riverside on Thursday, many were curious as to how the Arizona State Sun Devils would respond.
ASU answered accordingly, defeating North Florida 72-63 for its second win of the season.
Arizona State was without guard Luther Muhammad, who was suspended for violating team policy according to The Athletic's Doug Haller.
However, the Sun Devils did welcome back guards Jay Heath and Jalen Graham after being stuck in COVID protocols for Arizona State's first two games.
Graham was part of the team's starting lineup, which included the following for the Sun Devils:
Arizona State's Starting Lineup
Guard DJ Horne
Guard Marreon Jackson
Forward Jalen Graham
Forward Kimani Lawrence
Forward Marcus Bagley
Arizona State's night, yet again, got off to another slow start. The Sun Devils dug themselves into an early 16-4 deficit to North Florida, hitting only one of their frist nine shots.
The recent additions (Graham and Heath) were able to make an impact early for the Sun Devils, as Heath notched his first points in an Arizona State uniform and was one of three ASU players to finish with a plus/minus of nine or more in the first half. Graham played eight minutes and tallied four points and a rebound.
Arizona State trailed for most of the first half, eventually taking its first lead on a fadeaway shot by Horne with three seconds left in the first half, as ASU went into the break with a 39-37 lead over the Ospreys.
The Sun Devils failed to sink any of their six free-throw attempts and shot just 35% (5-for-13) from behind the arc.
Forward Marcus Bagley did not start the second half for Arizona State. Bagley was seen walking to and from the locker room when subbed out, only playing nine minutes in the first half.
Haller reported he had knee discomfort.
Bagley did not make an appearance the rest of the night.
Arizona State managed to hold a slim lead through the early stages of the second half, carrying a 52-45 lead into the under-12 minute timeout. Eight of the first 13 points scored in the second half came inside the paint.
After shooting 50% from downtown in the first half, North Florida cooled down, partially thanks to a tough Arizona State defense that forced the Ospreys to go over seven minutes without a successful field goal.
North Florida had made just 4-of-16 shots when a timeout was called with 7:43 left.
However, the Ospreys managed to battle back, catching fire and sinking 5-of-7 shots and forcing three turnovers within that span to trail Arizona State by just two with 3:49 remaining, 60-58.
Arizona State entered the bonus with 2:32 left, putting Lawrence to the line and sinking one of two free throws to put the Sun Devils back up by five points.
The Sun Devils didn't look back, as Jackson sank a deep three to put Arizona State up by nine points and Gaffney followed with an emphatic block on the defensive end.
Points: Horne (16)
Rebounds: Gaffney (9)
Assists: Gaffney (5)
Arizona State now prepares for its next task, a road trip to San Diego State on Thursday.