Sun Devils Rock Desert Financial Arena Over UCLA

Sun Devils Rock Desert Financial Arena

by: Doug Seagrave/Excel H Sports

The Arizona State Sun Devils entered Saturday night’s Pac-12 game as heavy underdogs to the UCLA Bruins. The Bruins were 16-3 overall and 8-2 in the conference, earning them a #3 national ranking. They returned all their players from a team that advanced to the Final Four last year. The Sun Devils (6-13, 2-7 in the Pac-12) had lost seven of their last eight games. However, they had shown signs of improvement in the last few games. Even the most diehard ASU fans were stunned by what transpired on this extended night.

Coach Bobby Hurley’s squad pulled out a shocker in front of a raucous home crowd, defeating the Bruins 87-84 in triple overtime. The improved play of the last few weeks finally paid off in a big way. Arizona State fans stormed the court to celebrate the win after the biggest basketball victory in Tempe in some time. After two years of frustration and roadblocks, the Sun Devils savored this win.

The Sun Devils began a run before the end of the first half to take s 34-32 lead. They continued to build the lead after halftime and increased it to 45-34. The Bruins would not go away and had a chance to win it in regulation, but Johnny Juzang missed a shot, followed by a desperation miss by ASU’s Marreon Jackson.

Marreon Jackson was a key factor in the Sun Devils efforts in the 2nd half, and the overtimes.  He scored the first five points of the first overtime. It was something of a coming out party for Jackson. He was the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year at Toledo before transferring to ASU. He scored 24 points helping his team to victory. Jackson and his backcourt mates were also important in the defensive effort by dropping down to help in post defense and providing needed rebounding help.

In the 3rd overtime, The Sun Devils built an 84-78 lead and held on for the win. ASU students rushed the court to bask in the victory. Coach Bobby Hurley received the Gatorade dump in the locker room and Tempe was a very happy place.

The Sun Devils are now 7-13 overall and 3-7 in the Pac-12. The Bruins dropped to 16-4 and 8-3 in the Pac-12. Marreon Jackson finished 7-18 from the field, 4-11 from the 3-point line, for 24 points. Junior Jaylen Graham, a Phoenix Mountain Pointe High School product, continued his strong play with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Kimani Lawrence, Jay Heath, DJ Horne, and Alonzo Gaffney all had solid outings for the Devils.

UCLA was led by Jaime Jaquez with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Johnny Juzang had 20 points and 10 rebounds before he fouled out of the game.

The Sun Devils have a huge game on Monday at the University of Arizona brings their highly ranked Wildcats into Desert Financial Arena for the rivalry game. Tip-off is 7:00. The Bruins are back in action on Tuesday at Stanford.




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