— Pac-12 Networks (@Pac12Networks) November 30, 2015
TEMPE, Ariz. — It seems Bobby Hurley’s team likes to keep things interesting.
Seven games in, five Arizona State basketball games have been decided by nine points or less – and Sunday was no different. ASU defeated UC Santa Barbara 70-68 on a last-second basket from senior Eric Jacobsen in front of 4,026 at Wells Fargo Arena.
“I’m really just proud of my team and the way they respond in late-game situations,” Hurley said postgame. “Hopefully, this is a momentum booster for our team. We have a tough stretch coming up.”
ASU’s first 3 points came on free throws from Willie Atwood after a cold start from the field. The Sun Devils missed their first seven field goal attempts — the first came from Jacobsen on a post-up basket under the hoop seven minutes into the game. Arizona State shot 8-of-28 from the field in the first half and 2-of-11 from 3-point range.
The game stayed close all second half with neither team having a lead larger than nine. With five minutes to play, ASU’s Andre Spight drilled a three and then dished to Atwood to bring the Devils within two at 55-57. With three minutes remaining, Savon Goodman scored a reverse layup on a dish from Gerry Blakes to bring it within one.
Spight hit a three to tie the game at 68 with 34 seconds remaining. Jacobsen blocked a shot attempt on the Gauchos’ next possession and ASU got the ball back with 10.9 seconds left. Guard Kodi Justice took the ball down court and put up a shot that fell short, but Jacobsen grabbed the rebound for the game-winning put-back.
“I saw [Justice] was putting up a jumper and was hoping it would come off light like it did,” said Jacobsen, who had 10 points and eight rebounds in the contest. “I crashed the offensive boards and the ball just kind of bounced into my hands.”
ASU shot 33.9 percent from the field and 28 percent from three-point range. Goodman was the leading scorer for the Sun Devils with 14. UCSB’s Michael Bryson led all scores with 23 points.
“We just have to expect to be in close games — we’ve scheduled hard,” Hurley said. “We’re being challenged, we’re playing close games, we’re fighting hard, we were resilient in the last three minutes and overcame a deficit and made plays to win. It makes you feel good as a coach knowing your players have that quality that they’re building.”
– ASU scored 25 second-chance points off 16 offensive rebounds compared to four second-chance points off seven offensive rebounds for the Gauchos.
– The Devils were able to score 23 points off 16 UCSB turnovers.
– ASU was 23-of-26 from the charity stripe for 88.5 percent, well over their season average of 68.5.
– The Sun Devils had a hard time putting a body on Bryson. He shot 8-of-12 and 3-of-5 from three-point range.
– Starting point guard Tra Holder was 0-of-5 from the field with two assists and three turnovers. Hurley also sat his starting guard during the final stretch.
– The contest was Tim Healey’s 500th game on the call for ASU basketball.
– Bobby Hurley received his first technical foul of the season with 13:31 left in the game. He was upset about a non-call and was, well, animated on the sidelines. He appeared to have gotten a warning a few minutes before.
– ASU held its first annual “Teddy Bear Toss” at halftime. For the uninitiated, fans were invited to throw new and gently used teddy bears onto the court. American Airlines vowed to match up to 300 teddy bears tossed and all the stuffed animals were then donated to the Hope Women’s Center.
– Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak’s son Maxwell Kupchak plays for UCSB. He played seven minutes and scored four points, all from the free throw line.
HE SAID IT
– “It says a lot about our guys, our character, just to be able to play through stuff like that. They’re good teaching points too because I’m sure we’ll have other games where we play just as bad but we just have to find ways to win.” – Eric Jacobsen on the team’s poor shooting night.
We knew the Sun Devils were going to have a tough schedule, and this next stretch is where that starts to show. ASU travels to Omaha, Neb., for a meeting with the Creighton Bluejays on Wednesday, followed by the Texas A&M Aggies, Kentucky Wildcats and UNLV Rebels.
Creighton is 4-1 on the season and averages 88 points a game. The all-time series between the Sun Devils and the Bluejays is tied at 4-4. The last matchup between the two schools was at the Wooden Legacy tournament in 2013 where Creighton won 88-60.
The game tips off at 7 p.m. and can be heard on ESPN Phoenix 620 AM.