Devils drop a heartbreaker to Aggies

Whether it’s a neutral court contest or a true road game, the theme has been the same for Arizona State. On Saturday afternoon, the Sun Devils failed to close out a game in which they over 30 minutes as they dropped their third consecutive affair away from Tempe, losing 72-71 to Texas A&M.

Arizona State (5-3) opened up the first half on fire. After being tied 15-15, a 13-3 run put the Sun Devils ahead 28-18 with 8:53 left. Shooting 64 percent in the first half, including 7-13 three pointers allowed the visitors to cruise to a 45-34 halftime advantage.

In the first several minutes of the second stanza, ASU showed no signs of slowing down and were ahead 62-51 with 11:05 remaining in the contest. However, settling down for the three-point shot became a detrimental factor for the Sun Devils, who following five straight misses from that range relinquished the lead 63-62 with 6:04 left. ASU scored just nine more points for the remainder of the game.

ASU’s ten second half turnovers and lack of aggressiveness which netted just three free throw attempts in the period were other factors that didn’t allow the visitors to get over the hump. Gerry Blakes’ three pointer gave ASU a 69-68 edge and Tra Holder’s two free throws tied the game at 71-71 with 34 seconds left. Yet, Texas A&M made just one free throw the rest of the way and that proved to be the difference in College Station this afternoon.

After losing his starting point guard position, Holder came off the bench for his best game to date in an ASU uniform leading the Sun Devils with 14 points, five assists and going 7-7 from the line. Holder did however commit all of his four turnovers in the second half. Gilling and Barnes in reserve roles as well each scored 12 points and combined for 6-14 shooting from beyond the arc.

The ASU squad will break for final exams and return to the court on December 13th to host Pepperdine at Noon.

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