Devils escape Reno with a win

ASU never trailed on Friday night at Nevada, but were close to relinquishing their advantage several times during the contest. Ultimately the maroon and gold were able to hold onto a precious road victory, 78-75, over the Wolfpack.

In sharp contrast to the near freezing temperatures in Reno, the Arizona State (5-4) offense was torrid in the first half converting 50 percent from the field, as well as making 6 of 12 shots beyond the arc. Rihards Kuksiks scored 11 points in the first half, as the Sun Devils limited Nevada (2-8) to 34.6 percent shooting. The Sun Devils led 33-26 at the half.

The second stanza was simply an offensive shootout which ASU was eventually able to survive.

Ironically, it was Nevada's Olek Czyz, who chose the Wolfpack over the Sun Devils after transferring from Duke, who kept the hosts in the game with his 10 second half points. ASU led 54-42 with just 11 minutes left in game, but behind Czyz and Deonte Burton Nevada was trailing just 64-63 with 2:16 remaining in the contest.

Brandon Dunson who replaced the hobbled Jamelle McMillan (who led all players with seven assists) in the waning moments of the game scored six points off the bench, including a crucial three-pointer with 1:41 left to hold off yet another Nevada run.

Even though the Sun Devils led 77-70 with ten seconds left, careless fouls and inability to block out for rebounds nearly tipped the game in Nevada's favor, but luckily for ASU those efforts fell short.

Kuksiks led all players scoring 20 points. Ty Abbott and Trent Lockett were the only other Sun Devils in double figures adding 17 and 15 points respectively. That tandem, along with Kyle Cain each had seven rebounds for ASU. Malik Story paced Nevada with 19 points.

ASU surrendered 13 offensive rebounds and committed 14 turnovers, yet had one the best free shooting performances of the season converting 21 of 27 shots for 77.8 percent. Lockett was a perfect 7 of 7 from the charity stripe on a night where needless to say ASU needed every point it could muster.

ASU returns to home to host Long Beach State Tuesday at 5 p.m.


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