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Sun Devils Overcome Slow Start, Defeat Portland in Season Opener

Arizona State had to overcome a slow start in order to notch its first win of the new season over Portland.

TEMPE -- It's not about how you start, it's about how you finish. 

The Arizona State Sun Devils notched their first win of the season on Tuesday night, defeating the Portland Pilots 76-60.

The first 20 minutes of action were quite interesting, as the Sun Devils struggled to find their footing early and trailed for a good portion in opening play. Arizona State started 1-for-8 from the field, and grabbed their first lead of the game at 12-11. 

Head coach Bobby Hurley might find more colorful words to describe how the Sun Devils got out of the gates. 

However, Arizona State managed to carry a 31-25 lead into the break thanks to a buzzer beater by transfer guard Marreon Jackson, who grabbed a loose ball and sank the shot despite being off balance. 

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In their first action of the regular season, Hurley opted to swap players early and often throughout the game. All eight players that played in the first half received over 10 minutes of action. 

Once the Sun Devils were able to get into the flow of the game, and mostly take advantage of Portland in transition, the game opened up for a guard-heavy ASU team.

The second half began much better for Arizona State, as the Sun Devils jumped out of the break on a 7-0 run. Although Portland would battle to draw the game within 10 points, Arizona State would eventually break away, leading 72-54 at the under four- minute media timeout.

Five Sun Devils finished with double-digit scoring: Luther Muhammad (10), Kimani Lawrence (19), Marcus Bagley (12), Alonzo Gaffney (15) and DJ Horne (11).

Arizona State will hope to build a winning streak on Thursday when the Sun Devils play host to UC Riverside at 6:30 pm Arizona time.