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Recap: Sun Devils Return Home, Escape Late Surge from Grand Canyon

After defeating the Oregon Ducks on the road, Arizona State bounced back in a major way by taking down a talented Grand Canyon team at Desert Financial Arena.
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What does this Arizona State Sun Devils basketball team actually look like?

In a week that featured an ugly loss to Washington State just days before an impressive win on the road at Oregon, many ASU fans wondered just what this team was capable of becoming.

Arizona State returned home to Desert Financial Arena to pause conference play and  prepare for battle against a tough 8-1 Grand Canyon University team, ultimately defeating the Lopes 67-62 in a close battle that came down to the last moments.

Still without forward Marcus Bagley, the Sun Devils played another game with their usual starting lineup in front of perhaps the most electric crowd at home all season, thanks to the proximity of their in-state opponents. 

Here's how the action panned out for Arizona State's fourth win of the season:

First-Half Recap

Starting Lineup
G Marreon Jackson
G DJ Horne
G Luther Muhammad
F Kimani Lawrence
F Jalen Graham

The Sun Devils got off to another hot start, going on an 8-2 run before eventually leading GCU 16-5 before the under-12 media timeout. 

ASU successfully blocked five GCU shots in the early portion of the game, holding the Lopes to just 2-of-16 shooting during that stretch. 

Grand Canyon answered with back-to-back threes, as guard Holland Woods scored a total of eight points in a two-minute span to draw the Lopes within two, 18-16. 

Muhammad then scored on a layup to stop Arizona State's three-minute scoring drought, as the Sun Devils slowly broke away from GCU before the halftime buzzer sounded, 33-24. 

The effort on the glass was propelled by Lawrence's seven first-half rebounds, while the shooting was rather ugly by both teams. The Sun Devils and Lopes combined to shoot 3-of-24 from downtown, as Arizona State (30%) and GCU (25%) couldn't hit from any spot on the floor. 

However, the Sun Devils made the most of their 15 trips to the stripe, knocking down 14 free throws in the first half, by far their best free-throw shooting performance of the season.

Second-Half Recap

After making their first two shots in the second half, GCU instantly went cold by making just one of their next 11 shots. 

The Sun Devils responded with a nice 7-0 run of their own, going up 40-29 at the under-16 media timeout. 

Down but not out, the Lopes slashed that 11-point lead to only one thanks to three three-pointers, and trailed 42-41 after Arizona State converted only 1-of-11 shots during that time. 

The Sun Devils kept their lead, however, going on a 6-0 run of their own with 3:02 left in the game to extend their lead to nine points, 57-48. 

GCU was unable to cut the lead to any slimmer than four points, as the Sun Devils ultimately pulled through with a 67-62 win. 

Arizona State Leaders:
Points: Lawrence/Horne (14)
Rebounds: Lawrence (14)
Assists: Muhammad/Jackson/Heath (2)

Lawrence nearly had a double-double in the second half, accumulating 10 points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes played. The Sun Devils converted six of their final nine field goals. 

What's Next

The Sun Devils look to extend their winning streak to three games on a road trip to Creighton on Tuesday, Dec. 14.