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ASU blows big lead, loses to Fresno State
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ASU blows big lead, loses to Fresno State

TEMPE, ARIZ — At least there wasn’t a heart-wrenching
buzzer beater
this time out.

Kevin Olekaibe had 21 of his career-high 30 points in the
2nd half lifting
the Fresno State Bulldogs to a 68-65 win over Arizona
State at Wells
Fargo Arena.

Olekaibe had six three-pointers, including two in the last
1:09 of the
game. The second put Fresno up 67-65 with :31 left.

ASU still had time left, but on their next possession,
Keala King missed a
shot underneath, and committed a foul. Fresno State’s
Jonathan Willis
made the front end of a one-and-one but missed the second,
keeping
the door open for ASU. In the closing seconds, Kyle Cain
missed a long
two-point shot, even though the deficit was three, and the
Sun Devils (4-
8) suffered their third
straight loss.

The first twenty minutes went swimmingly for Herb Sendek’s
team, who
was missing starting center Ruslan Pateev (one-game
suspension). ASU
led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but Fresno
closed out on a
5-0 run to trail 38-26 heading into the break.

The Bulldogs (5-8) started the 2nd half on a 23-6 run to
tie the score at
44-44 on a Jerry Brown free throw with 11:30 to go. But
Fresno State
didn’t stop there; Olekaibe’s three-pointer with 8 minutes
left stretched
the lead to 7.

When asked about trying to make defensive adjustments to
slow down
Olekaibe, Sendek snapped, “it’s not about an adjustment,
it’s about
playing with passion and energy. It’s about executing
fundamentals. It’s
about concentrating, it’s not schematics.”

King led the Sun Devils with 22, including 10 of 11
shooting from the
free throw line. Trent Lockett contributed 17.

Next up for ASU is the Pac-12 opener December 31st at
McKale Center in
Tucson.

So is the 10-day break coming at a good time for the Sun
Devils?