Graham and Jackson’s ‘Warrior’ performances lead ASU to upset No. 3 UCLA

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TEMPE — The Arizona State Sun Devils made history Saturday night at Desert Financial Arena.

With an 87-84 triple overtime victory, ASU became the second team in D1 history to beat an AP top 5 team in three or more overtimes, according to the ESPN broadcast.

“It was very rewarding,” head coach Bobby Hurley said after the game. “I feel good for the kids because I feel like we’ve been playing really well the past few weeks but just haven’t been able to break through with a win.

“It’s a hell of a basketball team. I have tremendous respect for their program and for who they are. These guys are winners there. It’s a great feeling to beat a team of this quality.

Hurley joked that he would have been willing to continue playing until Sunday had the contest allowed.

” I was having fun. Part of me didn’t want to end,” he explained. “Both teams were really good tonight and played a hell of a game, so it was fun to be a part of it and coach it.”

For the third game in a row against a top-20 team, Hurley’s team limited their opponent to less than 40% shooting from the field. No. 3 UCLA finished the night 37 percent (29 of 78) while going a dreadful 5 for 22 from three-point range (23 percent).

And after recent games have seen a big disparity in free throws in favor of the Sun Devils opposition, Saturday night’s charity strip numbers only favored the Bruins by two at 28-26. Neither team shot particularly well from the line, as UCLA hit 21 for 28 (75%) while ASU went 18 for 26 (69%).

Bruins star Johnny Juzang was also held off by the Sun Devils defense. The UCLA guard managed to record a 20-point double-double on 8 of 22 shots (36.4%), but Juzang also ended up fouling in the extra 15 minutes of overtime.

Arizona State flirted with one of those who live or die by all three types of play, as the Sun Devils finished the night 11 of 32 (34.4 percent) from beyond the arc.

In fact, ASU’s last three buckets of the first half were all three-pointers while UCLA converted just one of their last eight attempts to give Arizona State a 3-point lead. 34-32 at halftime before entering the locker room for the first time in Pac-12. play this season. And of the Sun Devils’ 30 shot attempts in the first half, 15 of them were three-pointers. ASU shot 13 of 30 (43%) from the field and went 6 for 15 from deep in the first 20 minutes.

The three-point brigade was led by guard Marreon Jackson, who led all Sun Devils in scoring with 24-of-7 points on 18 shooting (39%) and a record four three-for-11 tries (36.4%). He also led ASU at the free throw line, converting six of his eight attempts for a 75% clip.

However, Jackson revealed after the match that he had been suffering from a wrist injury on his shooting hand since November.

“My right hand and my shooting wrist have been damaged all season and it’s only just starting to get better. … It bothers you mentally,” he explained. got 10 out of 10 and it hurt me mentally.

“I really had to get back to basics, repeat everything, hit the gym more than I was doing just to pick myself up, just get that confidence back. This game was definitely the game to do that, to come back like that.

Another Sun Devil who suffered from a silent illness that was only revealed after the game was forward Jalen Graham, who didn’t even know if he was even going to play against the Bruins on Saturday night due to a non-COVID-19 illness that has affected him the last two games.

“I just said rest and sleep,” Hurley said of what he told Graham on Saturday morning. “He received medication and he was able to swallow liquids. He just fought and was a warrior today considering what he’s been through.

Arizona State will now complete the fifth and final game of a five-game gauntlet on Monday that featured the same ranked teams in No. 19 USC, No. 7 Arizona and No. 3 UCLA.

Saturday’s contest — which marked the fourth top-20 team ASU has faced since Jan. 24 and the second top-seven team in eight days — also snapped a four-game skid and will give the team confidence. before Monday’s home game with the Arizona Wildcats, who are coming off a sweep of both Los Angeles schools.

“It would have been difficult if we hadn’t won, but the morale in the dressing room at the moment is amazing because we know we don’t go back on wins one way or another. We win these games and we were very competitive in those games against the elite teams and we played against each other, so to break through and win, hopefully that will build confidence as we go on.

“They were very determined. They won’t be denied,” he added. “That’s what I heard in the player caucuses. … They had the right mindset, so you knew they were going to do whatever it took to win.

FOLLOWING

The Sun Devils host No. 7 Arizona on Monday at 7 p.m. ESPN 620 AM or 98.7 FM HD-2.

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