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Game Recap: Wildcats Devour Sun Devils Thanks to Second Half Surge

After upsetting UCLA on Saturday, the Sun Devils were unable to continue their magic in Tempe once the Wildcats came to town.
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Sometimes you're the hammer, and other times you're the nail.

It was nothing short of a packed house at Desert Financial Arena on Monday evening when the Arizona State Sun Devils played host to the Arizona Wildcats. 

ASU, fresh off an upset of No. 3 UCLA on Saturday, looked to play the role of spoiler once again, this time in the form of their most-hated rivals.

Arizona, fresh from a victory over No. 19 USC, had other ideas. 

Although the first half was kept close thanks to an early Sun Devils surge, the Wildcats would eventually go on to prove why many consider them a top team in the nation by easily handling any challenge Arizona State brought to the table.

Here's how the action unfolded:

First Half Recap


G- DJ Horne
G- Jay Heath
F- Jalen Graham
F- Kimani Lawrence
F- Alonzo Gaffney

The Sun Devils got off to a 9-0 run thanks to three early three-pointers from Heath, Gaffney and Horne. Arizona was forced to call a timeout after Horne hit a second shot in the corner to extend ASU's lead to 14-1.

ASU carried their advantage into the first media timeout at 15:20 with a 16-5 lead. To that point, the Wildcats committed four turnovers while the Sun Devils converted their first six-of-nine shots. 

Arizona would find their form however, as the Wildcats would go on an 11-0 run of their own to draw the lead within two, forcing Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley to call a timeout. The Wildcats would soon take their first lead of the game at the 8:49 mark on a Azuolas Tubelis layup. 

ASU guard Marreon Jackson did hit a milestone in the first half, as he reached 2,000 career points. 

With the two teams exchanging blows towards the end of the half, Arizona managed to push themselves out to a 36-31 lead at the 1:56 media timeout thanks to a 7-0 run, powered by five points from guard Pelle Larsson. 

Although the half would end with Arizona leading 40-36, the Sun Devils would carry momentum into the break thanks to back-to-back steals on the defensive side of the court. 

Arizona would shoot a superb 53.3% from the field in the first half, while the Sun Devils were able to keep pace thanks to shooting 50% from downtown and forcing 12 Wildcats turnovers. 

The first half was either tied or saw lead changes nine times in the final ten minutes of play.

Second Half Recap

The Wildcats would further their lead thanks to a 9-2 run to begin the second half, forcing an early Sun Devils timeout with 17:58 left to play. 

Arizona hit another 6-0 run to take a 55-40 lead, forcing Hurley to again call a timeout to stop the bleeding. The Wildcats had nine rebounds to ASU's one in the second period. 

The Sun Devils crowd would be drowned out by the Arizona fans in attendance at that point, as the Wildcats had full control of both the crowd and court. 

The Wildcats would simply prove to be too much in all facets.

Center Enoch Boakye would be forced to sit with 13:10 remaining after obtaining his fourth foul. He would later come back to action but would foul out with 7:30 left. Graham would eventually reach his fifth and final foul in the second half as well.

At the 11:13 media timeout, Arizona would hold a 66-47 lead. Wildcats center Oumar Ballo would give them their first 20-point advantage of the night after sinking two free throws immediately following the break. 

The Sun Devils would trail the rest of the way, failing to put any significant hole into Arizona's lead. 

The Wildcats would ultimately win 91-79.

ASU now falls to 7-14 on the season, having won just two conference games since Dec. 5.

Stat Leaders

Points- Jackson/Heath (16)
Rebounds- Graham/Lawrence (4)
Assists- Jackson (8)

What's Next

The Sun Devils will be out of action for three days prior to a road trip to take on the Washington Huskies on Thursday, Feb. 10.