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ASU Men’s Basketball: ASU faces tough test against the prolific Davidson Wildcats

(Photo: Eliav Gabay/WCSN)

The Arizona State Sun Devils will look to finish the Tire Pros Invitational on a high note when they take on the Davidson Wildcats in the fifth-place game Sunday in Orlando.

The Sun Devils bounced back from a dismal showing against Northern Iowa with a victory over Tulane on Friday.  The win was a big one for the Sun Devils to gain some confidence coming into Sunday’s tournament finale.

“The game against Northern Iowa didn’t feel good at all,” ASU guard Torian Graham said.  “It feels good to come back and get a victory after the game we played.”

After allowing UNI to push them around on the defensive end, the Sun Devils put the clamps on Tulane, forcing the Green Wave into 18 turnovers. The Devils also held Tulane to just 35.7% percent shooting from beyond the arc, after the Green Wave previously shot 50% from three-point range in their opener against Oklahoma.

ASU will need a similar defensive effort against Davidson of the Atlantic 10 conference. The jumpstart Wildcats raced out of the gates against Missouri in their last game, building up a 26-9 lead after only eight minutes of play.  

Davidson is led by forward Peyton Aldridge and guard Jack Gibbs, who are averaging 24.7 and 21.5 points, respectively.  Gibbs shot 7-16 from the field, which was good for  25 against Missouri while Aldridge added 21 on 8-13 shooting. No other Wildcat reached was able to reach double figures.  Jon Axel Gudmundsson, the third-leading scorer for Davidson, averages just 9.7 points.  

The Sun Devils were swallowed by Northern Iowa on Thursday, and were held to just 63 points, the only time so far this season that ASU has been held below 80.  ASU figures to be challenged once again on their offensive end, as Davidson limited Missouri to just 36% shooting from the field and 19% from 3-point range.  

This will be the final game of the Tire Pros Invitational for ASU.  The Devils will return home to face The Citadel on Wednesday before heading to the Bahamas for a showdown with Kentucky.

Sunday’s game will tip off at 12:30 p.m. Arizona time, and will again be televised nationally on ESPNU.   

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