(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
Despite a strong second half, Arizona State just couldn’t make up the difference in a tough 91-75 loss on the road to number 16 Arizona.
The star of the night for the Wildcats (16-2) was freshman forward Lauri Markkanen. The Finnish sensation was phenomenal all night, dominating ASU on every part of the court.
Markkanen scored a career-high 30 points on 12 of 18 shooting while also nailing four shots from behind the arc. Three of his teammates also managed to score at least 13 points in the game and the Wildcats shot over 56 percent from the floor.
Markkanen lead his team with eight rebounds as well to highlight another strong rebounding performance for Arizona. The Wildcats outrebounded ASU 38 to 22, with 12 of those boards coming on the offensive end for Arizona.
This has been a constant issue for ASU (9-9) all season, as they have severely struggled to rebound the ball and defend against bigger teams. The Sun Devils lineup has gotten even smaller with the departure of freshman Sam Cunliffe and ASU has continued to struggle.
ASU senior forward Obinna Oleka had a strong performance scoring a team high 22 points while pulling down nine rebounds. Tra Holder and Torian Graham also had decent performances scoring 20 and 18 respectively.
Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, many of those points came later in the second half when the game was already far out of reach. ASU outscored Arizona 50 to 46 in the second half but it just wasn’t enough.
Shannon Evans II had possibly his worst game of the season, which severely hurt ASU on both ends of the floor. Evans had a dismal offensive night scoring five points on 1 of 8 shooting. He did manage to dish out a season-high eight assists, but those also came too little too late.
The frustration for ASU started well before tip, as Graham was caught on camera flipping off the Arizona crowd, which he later apologized for.
ASU hopes to turn things around against an even tougher team in 4th ranked UCLA. The game is January 19 at 9 p.m. on Fox Sports One.