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Recap: Sun Devils Back on Track With Tough 64-62 Win Over Utah

The Sun Devils were able to end a three-game losing streak on Monday in a 64-62 victory over Utah.

Following their return to the court in a 75-57 loss to Colorado on Saturday, the Arizona State Sun Devils had no time to sulk in their sorrows with another game waiting on Monday. 

The Utah Utes made the trip to Desert Financial Arena riding a five-game losing streak, with their last few losses coming without their top player, center Branden Carlson. 

Carlson again missed the game, as his absence in the paint proved pivotal in a 64-62 loss to ASU that went down to the wire.

The Sun Devils snapped their own three-game losing streak and regained their footing within Pac-12 play to begin the second half of their season.

Here's how Arizona State got themselves back on track Monday afternoon:

First-Half Recap

Starters

G- DJ Horne
G- Jay Heath
F- Kimani Lawrence
F- Alonzo Gaffney
C- Enoch Boakye

Two changes were made for head coach Bobby Hurley, most notably the removal of guard Marreon Jackson from the starting lineup. Jackson has struggled in his first stretch of action with Arizona State after transferring from Toledo, where he led the MAC in scoring last season.

Enoch Boakye also made his first career start for ASU, perhaps a sly play from Hurley knowing Utah would be without their center (and best player).

The first half had eight lead changes between the two teams, as Arizona State (after the opening bucket) managed its first lead of the afternoon with 9:26 left in the opening portion of play. Utah had been able to keep the Sun Devils at bay in a back-and-forth game. 

Arizona State led by four points with 3:54 remaining, but was not able to hang onto the lead before the final buzzer. Utah guard David Jenkins made a corner-three as time expired to put the Utes in the lead, 28-26 heading into the break.

It was again a slow start for the Sun Devils, as they shot 4-of-17 from three-point land with no fast-break points. Arizona State did lead the Utes in points off turnovers by a 12-2 margin in the first 20 minutes of play. 

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Second-Half Recap

Although it took a few minutes of play, Arizona State found their groove on offense, sparking an 8-0 run to take a 39-33 lead and forcing Utah to take a timeout with 13:19 left. The Utes opened the second half by making only two of their first nine shots. 

Similar to the first half, Utah hung around and battled their way back to the lead, this time having a 48-47 edge with 7:23 remaining. 

The two teams continue to trade buckets and were tied at 53 with under five minutes to play.

With 1:37 left, Jackson splashed a three-point shot to again tie the teams at 60 after Utah had managed a lead for a few minutes. 

ASU forward Jalen Graham, who had four fouls with 9:48 left, sank a hook-shot with just over 50 seconds remaining to give the Sun Devils a two-point lead. 

Jenkins, who hit the go-ahead three-point shot for Utah at the end of the first half, buried a mid-range jumper with 20 seconds left to again draw the game even. 

Arizona State called a timeout quickly after inbounding the ball, and drew a play up for Graham, who successfully scored in the paint to give the Sun Devils a two-point lead with seconds to play. 

Guard Jay Heath denied a last-second attempt from Utah, sealing ASU's first victory in four games in a 64-62 win over the Utes. 

Arizona State, despite shooting 25% from the stripe, got the job done by outscoring Utah in the paint 36-22 while making their last four field-goal attempts. 

Final Leaders

Scoring: Lawrence (18)
Assists: Jackson (4)
Rebounds: Boakye (6)

What's Next

The Sun Devils will travel to play Stanford to take on the Cardinal on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 9 p.m. Arizona time.