Devils Hold off Bruins

The Arizona State Sun Devils defeated the UCLA Bruins 68-66 Wednesday night. The team was able to hold off UCLA’s late run as well as overtime with its final stand.

The Bruins late game charge against the Sun Devils began to heat up after UCLA exited a timeout with possession of the ball and 18.6 seconds remaining. The score stood at 67-64. Therefore there was logical and legitimate cause for the Bruins to hold the ball and play for overtime with the conversion of a late three-pointer.

Instead the Bruins’ Issac Hamilton drove to the hoop and threw a tough bucket off the backboard to move the score to 67-66 in ASU’s favor therefore forcing the Sun Devils to make late game free throws.

Which the team sort of accomplished.

Tra Holder was fouled on the following in-bound play. The young man made one of two free throws to extend the Sun Devils’ lead to 68-66 with about seven seconds left in the game.

UCLA went on to attempt a play spanning the length of the court where Hamilton again attempted a shot, this time a three-pointer. The attempt was right on the line with the game time buzzer, however it did not matter as the ball clanked off the back of the rim rather than exiting through the basket.

As is commonly the case, ASU’s win was largely attributed to its survival at the free throw line. The Sun Devils were granted the blessing that is the double bonus from about the six minute mark onward in the second half. It proceeded to shoot 14 for 21 from that designated spot.

On a night where ASU celebrated a player from its past that has made a career out of living in the paint and getting to the basket when he pleases a Sun Devil in the team’s present implanted his own presence in the interior.

Savon Goodman had a stellar night shooting a perfect eight for eight from the floor. Goodman scored 20 points and secured 12 rebounds at the end of the night.

Many of the transfer forward’s points came as he inserted himself in stealthy positions behind and spaced away from UCLA defenders. He was often delivered a bounce pass that he then put into the hoop for a hard earned layup.

Arizona State’s offense faced a few inordinate zones Wednesday night and Goodman told his wing teammates not to let the ball stick because of that.

“[I told them] don’t hold the ball get it out as fast as you can,” Goodman said he relayed to his teammates.

Scoring alongside Goodman was Shaquielle McKissic whose 14 points all seemed to be dramatic.

McKissic could be seen putting three fingers to his head, pushing his shoulders up and mildly flexing as if he was performing shrugs in the gym and more after made baskets.

Holder joined the mix providing much of same contributions he has supplied in the last month. The freshman point guard scored 14 points, grabbed five rebounds and assisted seven baskets during tonight’s action.

It has been proven to quite a far length that when the Wells Fargo Arena crowd engages in the game it legitimately energizes the ASU team. Unfortunately for the Sun Devils the crowd often needs motivation to rise toward an electrifying level but Bo Barnes supplied the inspiration Wednesday night as he knocked down a long three with 4:04 remaining.

Although the long three-pointer that put ASU ahead 61-57 went on to energize and aid the team through the remainder of the game, Barnes and his three-pointers were not abundant on the evening.

Barnes went 2-4 from behind the arc while Jon Gilling was scoreless on his two attempts.

Herb Sendek was encouraged by the team’s ability to secure a victory without an influx of long distance shooting.

“More recently we haven’t had those game we’re we are making nine or 10 threes like we had earlier in the season which I think is a good sign,” Sendek said.

“If the only way you can win is if your team hits 10 threes you become limited and so what I like about the evolution of our team is that we’re finding ways to get better but we’re also finding ways other than making a lot of three point shots to win a game.”

Sendek also stated how his team has gotten better and players have gotten better as the season has continued.

The Sun Devils’ record will have a chance to get better, back to .500 in conference play actually, when the struggling USC Trojans roll into Wells Fargo Arena Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m.

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