Devils hang tough, fall to Duke

Playing against a national powerhouse such as Duke, all the ASU faithful wanted was respectable showing against the Blue Devils. For portions of the first half, not only did they get their wish but the Sun Devil fans were dreaming of an upset. However, offensive struggles and miscues prevented what could have been the program's biggest ever victory, as Duke prevailed 64-53 in the NIT semifinals.

Trent Lockett continued his remarkable freshman year, scoring 11 points in the first half and giving Arizona State (4-1) a 15-7 lead at the 15:03 mark. Duke (5-0) did an excellent job all night denying the hot three-point shooting Sun Devils from converting beyond the arc. However, thanks to Lockett and at times Jamelle McMillan, ASU found pay dirt in the paint scoring 20 points there in the first half.

Several missed layups, as well as Lockett sitting on the bench for long periods with three fouls, allowed the Blue Devils to ultimately erase the deficit. Duke recorded its first lead of the game with only 5:52 left in the half, a 24-23 edge, and a three-pointer by Jon Scheyer gave put his team ahead 34-30 at the half and Duke never looked back.

Lockett picked up his fourth foul with less than two minutes gone by in the second stanza, but Derek Glasser picked up the slack and scored 11 points in the early goings of the second half to tie the game at 43-43 at the 13:11 mark. Alas, that's as close as ASU would come to reclaiming their lead.

Duke went on a decisive 17-4 run in the next eight minutes to jump to a 60-47 advantage and cruised the last five minutes to a victory that which perhaps doesn't reflect how much the Blue Devils struggled against Herb Sendek's squad at Madison Square Garden tonight.

Glasser and Lockett both paced ASU with 13 points each, with the former tying a game-high seven rebounds and adding three steals. Rihards Kuksiks had 12 points, but was 1-6 from three-point range.

Eric Boateng had a rough outing versus his former squad, recording nine of his team's 14 turnovers and just four points. ASU shot just 38.3% from the field (2-13 from beyond the arc) and shot themselves in the foot converting just 15-22 from the free throw line.

Scheyer led all players on the floor with 16 points as Duke recorded 10 offensive rebounds and had a 30-26 edge on the glass.

Up next for ASU is the NIT consolation game, which will pit them against LSU who were an 81-55 loser to Connecticut in the other NIT Tip-Off semifinal. Tip-off at Madison Square garden is set to Friday at 12:30 pm MT.

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