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ASU Men’s Basketball: Sun Devils overcome sluggish start to beat UNLV

(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)


Although it took a while to get them going, the Arizona State Sun Devils got the win over the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, 77-55. Junior center Eric Jacobsen recorded a double-double for the Sun Devils, finishing with 16 points and 12 rebounds as three other Sun Devils in scored double-figures. Freshman guard Jordan Cornish finished with 10 points for UNLV.

With the win, ASU head coach Herb Sendek now has 400 victories in his career.

The Sun Devils got off to a slow start, falling to an early 21-8 deficit, only making two of their first nine shots. After trailing by 15 with 13 minutes remaining in the first half, ASU tied the game with 8:55 remaining thanks to some impressive play on both ends by freshman guard Kodi Justice.

What seemed to be a lackadaisical first ten minutes completely turned around in the next ten, converting seven of 12 three-point attempts and staying active on the defensive end drawing three offensive fouls in the first half. After playing behind for most of the first half, the teams went into halftime all tied up at 37.

ASU came out rolling in the second half, thanks to a two-handed dunk by Jacobsen to open the scoring after the break. After being down for the first 11:10 of the game, the Sun Devils held the lead for the rest of the game. Their lead jumped up to 12 points with 9:05 left in the game after a 12-2 run in which the Sun Devils made five of six field goals.

The three-point shooting for ASU came to play yet again in the second half, as senior forwards Jonathan Gilling and Bo Barnes combined with Justice for nine three-pointers made.

An injury to freshman guard Rashad Vaughn in the second half did some damage to UNLV and did wonders for ASU as they coasted to the finish line.

Player of the game: Eric Jacobsen

Although Justice and Jacobsen had equally as impactful performances statistically, Jacobsen went up against one of the most athletic front courts he will face all season long. He played great interior defense all night, and managed to put up these numbers against one of the best shot-blocking teams in the country.

Stat of the Night: UNLV’s second half shooting percentage – 24.2 percent

After being tied at half, ASU really buckled down and held their own against this athletic roster of UNLV. They held their second leading scorer, sophomore forward Chris Woods, to five points, and their leading scorer, Vaughn, to 10.

Biggest Concern: Sluggish start

Although the Sun Devils bounced back very well after trailing early, Pac-12 teams will bury them in a heart beat if they come out of the gates that slow consistently.

What’s next?

The Sun Devils hit the road to play Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, on Saturday, December 6 as they look for their third-straight victory.

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