ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

Arizona State fights to the end in ‘gutsy win’ over Utah on senior day

Feb 18, 2023, 9:04 PM

Arizona State men's basketball's seven seniors ring the bell after a 67-59 win over Utah at Desert ...

Arizona State men's basketball's seven seniors ring the bell after a 67-59 win over Utah at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, Ariz., on Feb. 18, 2023. (Sun Devil Athletics Photo)

(Sun Devil Athletics Photo)

TEMPE — The Arizona State Sun Devils men’s basketball team fought tooth and nail to pull out a 67-59 win over the Utah Utes on Saturday.

In what was the final home game of the regular season at Desert Financial Arena, the Sun Devils (19-9, 10-7 Pac-12) rallied from a 26-25 halftime deficit to send off the team’s seven seniors with one final victory in Tempe.

In fact, Utah (17-11, 10-7) was a perfect 17-0 in this season when taking a lead into the locker room after the first 20 minutes of play.

“I thought it was a gutsy win,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said postgame. “I’m very happy for the seniors. They’ve been great to me, great to the program this year for the guys who just joined and D.J. (Horne) for two years.

“So to see those guys perform the way they did, all contributing and a hard-fought game, a hard game, but just happy we got a got a win here at home and now hopefully we’ll use this momentum heading out on the road.”

For a large majority of the game, it looked as if ASU was enduring another resilient defensive performance that was matched with a sub-par offensive output. But that all changed down the stretch of the second half, as the Sun Devils finished the final 2:19 on a 12-2 run and hit seven of their last nine shots.

Compare that to Utah, who only hit one of its last seven attempts of the ballgame. In fact, ASU’s full-court pressure resulted in a total of 17 turnovers (eight steals) that the team scored 20 points off of.

After starting the contest an abysmal 1-for-13 from three, the Cambridge brothers hit their next two shots from deep to take the lead and close out the game for good.

After Desmond Cambridge Jr. hit a three to take a 58-57 lead with 2:20 remaining, he followed that up with an impressive shot near the elbow to extend the lead to 60-57 with 1:39 to go.

And on Arizona State’s next possession, Devan decided to follow his brother’s example and extend the lead with a three-pointer to give ASU a 63-59 advantage with 50 seconds left.

“I mean they made all the winning plays,” Hurley said. “I touched on a few of them: Des’ three on the left wing, Devon in the right corner, Warren (Washington) had some key baskets, Des’ iso at the foul line where he was able to get separation and hit that shot.

“So the shot-making was there in crunch time, the free throw shooting and just defensively our pursuit and how hard we played at that in the floor.”

Washington (18), Desmond (15) and Devan (14) were the game’s leading scorers while ASU shot 44% from the field and finished 3-of-15 from deep and 8-for-10 at the charity stripe to go along with 16 assists.

The Sun Devils are now 13-0 when Devan scores in double figures.

“As a Sun Devil, we have big coconuts,” Devan said postgame. “So I’m gonna use that word.

“But yeah, we emphasize that nobody’s afraid to take those big shots, especially Des. He lives for those moments, he’s been doing it his whole life. He trusts me to shoot that shot, you know I was gonna take it.”

Utah finished with a 38% clip from the field while shooting 6-of-25 from three and 7-for-11 at the line. The Utes also dominated the boards 45-30, which led to a 19-8 advantage in second-chance points.

With the victory, ASU wins the tiebreaker and moves up to fourth place in the Pac-12 standings with the gauntlet of the top three teams in the conference on the docket: at No. 8 Arizona, at No. 4 UCLA and at USC.

SENIOR DAY

As with every final home game at both the high school and collegiate level, Saturday’s pregame festivities saw Desmond Cambridge Jr., Devan Cambridge, Warren Washington, DJ Horne, Luther Muhammad, John Olmdsted and Micah Burno be honored at center court.

UP NEXT

ASU will get a week off before traveling down to Tucson next Saturday to take on the No. 8 Arizona Wildcats (24-4, 13-4) at the McKale Center.

Tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.

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