Utah Figures Out ASU Second Time Around

Back on November 27th, the Runnin' Utes were probably scratching their heads after their 83-79 overtime loss to the Sun Devils. In that game ASU gave Utah several ample chances to win that game. Tonight in Salt Lake City the home team took matters in their own hands, and thumped the Sun Devils 78-55.

ASU led 4-2 at the 18:21 mark, and was never able to enjoy another lead from that point on. Utah jumped to a 13-8 margin at the 15:06 mark, but a Tommy Smith 3-pointer cut the lead to 22-20 with 9:54 left in the first half. The Utes answered with an 18-8 run en route to a 40-30 half time lead. One can point to the beginning of the second half as the time period, which sealed the Devils' faith. Utah lead 46-32 at the 16:31 mark, and went on a 15-2 run, which mushroomed their lead to a 61-34 margin with 12:34 left in the game. From that point on both teams were going through the motions, until the final buzzer sounded signaling the Utes revenge over the Sun Devils.

Freshman Ike Diogu led all Sun Devils with 15 points. His foul troubles in the first half limited him to only 21 minutes, and 13 of his points came in the second half when the game was out of hand. On the bright side he successfully converted all seven of his free throws. Smith and Curtis Milage chipped in with 11 points each. Donnell Knight led ASU in rebounding with six, and Kyle Dodd topped the Devils in assists with four. Ironically (and sadly), ASU field goal percentage (37.5%) almost matched their field goal percentage (38%). The Devils' Achilles' heal, free throw shooting, did improve slightly from last game to 64.7%. For the second game in a row, an ASU opponent shot better than 50% (55.6%), and their 17 turnovers didn't do much to help the cause.

Next ASU plays a home game against Nevada on Tuesday, before breaking for final exams. After two bitter consecutive losses, it's imperative that the Sun Devils get a victory before their 11-day hiatus. If not, the already fragile team psyche can take another severe blow, which can only further the tailspin this team is experiencing right now.

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