Devils dominated at Utah

It is rare that a game's fate is already determined in the first half, but unfortunately for Arizona State that is exactly how their game Sunday night at Utah unfolded. The Sun Devils trailed in double digits for most of the first half and saw their deficit for large stretches eclipse 20 points as they eventually fell 86-63 to the Utes.

After shooting a season low 31.5 percent in a loss to Colorado last Wednesday, Arizona State (19-8, 8-6 Pac-12) was determined to rebound Sunday night at Utah (18-9, 7-8) and salvage its road trip to the mountain schools. Suffice to say that their new season low achieved tonight, 30.8 percent, prevented them from achieving that feat.

The Sun Devils' only lead was 2-0 and in a sign of things to come suffered an 11-0 run by the Utes in less than three minutes. With 8:59 left the visitors were already trailing 32-11 and it was clear right there right then that a road victory was simply not in the cards for ASU.

The Sun Devils actually showed some life in the second half and brought down their 51-26 halftime deficit to 61-48 with 10:2 left in the contest. Yet, that was as close as ASU would get to mounting an improbable comeback suffering one of their worst defeats of the year.

Shaquille McKissic led ASU with 16 points, while Bo Barnes and Egor Koulechov tried to provide a spark from the bench with 11 points each. Barnes was the Sun Devils' leading rebounder with seven. The Sun Devils' big three of Jahii Carson, Jermaine Marshall and Jordan Bachynski combined for 7-29 from the field and 20 points. ASU was outrebounded 44-36 and saw 12 of their shots blocked by Utah. The Utes were paced by Delon Wright who had 22 points.

While ASU's NCAA tournament hoops are very much alive, its margin of error is starting to decrease. A crucial home stand, the last of the season, awaits the Sun Devils with the Bay Area schools starting with Stanford on Wednesday at 9PM. Both Stanford and Cal stand in ASU's way not only as the Sun Devils try to gather precious wins for their NCAA tournament resume but also to try and earn a fourth place finish in the league which would grant them a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament.


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