Another comeback falls short

There is no doubting that the Sun Devils haven't lost their fighting spirit throughout this trying Pac-10 season. However, ASU is learning that undying resiliency doesn't always translate into victories. The maroon and gold endured their fifth straight Pac-10 loss and this was in heartbreaking fashion as they were edged at home 73-72 by UCLA in overtime.

There was literally no positives for Arizona State (9-12, 1-8 Pac-10) to take from a first half where they shot just 20 percent, while allowing UCLA (14-7, 6-3) to convert at a 50 percent clip during that period. The visitors led the Sun Devils 32-19 at the half and this contest's fate seemed like a foregone conclusion.

In the second half ASU improved leaps and bound offensively shooting 87.1 percent including 6 of 7 beyond the arc.

"I think our offense in the second half was much, much better," said ASU head coach Herb Sendek. "I thought we got out in transition more. I thought we cut harder. I thought our passing was better. And most significantly we made some shots. Obviously in the first half we were struggling from the field, only making 6-30 from the field. On those six baskets only one was on an assist.

"To our men's credit they really re-grouped and they came out fighting."

ASU didn't lead even once in the second stanza, but effectively chopped away at the Bruins' lead. With 8:11 left in the game the hosts were still trailing by double digits, 49-39, but preceded to outscore UCLA 22-12 the rest of the way.

With 12 seconds remaining in the game, Trent Lockett was able to tip in a missed free throw by Jordan Bachynski to knot the game up at 61-61.

Alas, ASU's porous defense from the first half reared its ugly head again in the extra frame. UCLA, who made just two three pointers in regulation hit their first three shots from beyond the arc in overtime and had a 70-64 advantage midway through the period. Rihards Kuksiks' three cut the visitors' lead down to one point with one second left, but it was too little too late for ASU as they try and reverse their fortunes in conference play. ASU had dropped three consecutive home games by four points or less.

"They say these kinds of games break even over time," Sendek stated. "Ultimately you have to make the plays to win the game on both ends of the floor. We made some really good plays; we just didn't make enough of them to win tonight."

Lockett paced his team with 17 points, as well as seven rebounds and four assists. Kuksiks had 15 and Jamelle McMillan who fouled out today had 13 points, all in the second half. Ty Abbott was in foul trouble early in the game and had just eight points. Lazeric Jones led UCLA with 18 points.

ASU will now to travel to the Bay Area schools and meet Cal on Thursday at 9:00 pm MT on Thursday.


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