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Sun Devils defeat Creighton in Omaha

Arizona State's Gerry Blakes (4) and Austin Witherill, right, celebrate after their 79-77 win over Creighton in an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Geoffrey Groselle was called for goaltending on Tra Holder’s layup try with 15 seconds left to give Arizona State the lead, and Creighton’s Cole Huff missed two free throws and a 3-point try at the buzzer as the Sun Devils defeated the Bluejays 79-77 on Wednesday night.

Savon Goodman had missed the second of two free throws with 18.9 seconds left, but Holder stripped Isiah Zierden of the rebound and went up for the layup that Groselle swatted as it hung over the cylinder.

Goodman fouled Huff with 6.3 seconds left, and after Willie Atwood rebounded the second miss, he got fouled and made one of two free throws on the other end. Huff got one more chance, but his shot at the top of the key bounced off the rim.

Goodman scored a season-high 23 points, Atwood had 14 points and Holder matched his career high with eight assists for the Sun Devils (5-2). Groselle led the Bluejays (5-2) with 15 points, Zierden added 14 and Toby Hegner had 12.

The Sun Devils, who shot 36 percent from the field in their previous two games, were held to 41 percent in the first half and saw its top two scorers held to a combined four points.

The pace picked up in the second half, and ASU heated up to 64.3 percent in what turned out to be a scoring contest to the end.

Arizona State erased an eight-point deficit in less than three minutes at the start of the second half. Goodman scored eight of ASU’s first 10 points of the half and Holder made two free throws to tie it 45-all.

The Sun Devils made 10 of their first 12 shots from the field after half and took their first lead, 56-54, when Goodman passed to Obinna Oleka along the baseline for a layup.

Groselle’s 3-point play and layup finished a 7-0 spurt that put Creighton ahead 67-63, but Andre Spight’s 3 and spinning move and layup high off the backboard gave the Sun Devils a one-point lead.

Creighton led 41-33 at half with the help of 6-of-13 shooting on 3-pointers and a strong defensive effort. The Bluejays held ASU’s top two scorers, Gerry Blakes and Holder, to a combined four points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field. Oleka, averaging 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench the last four games for ASU, picked up two quick fouls and played only three minutes before half.


Arizona State: Came in outrebounding opponents by 10.1 per game and held a 34-29 over the Bluejays … Sun Devils are beginning a challenging stretch that has them playing No. 18 Texas A&M at home on Saturday, at No. 1 Kentucky on Dec. 12 and at UNLV on Dec. 16. … ASU is 5-4 all-time against the Bluejays.

Creighton: Made just 1 of 5 free throws in the second half and 6 of 11 for the game. … Bluejays made 11 of 24 3s.


Arizona State hosts Texas A&M on Saturday.

Creighton visits Loyola-Chicago on Saturday.

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