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ASU Basketball: Sun Devils look to get back on track against Utah

Arizona State basketball is facing a critical weekend and it starts with the Utah Utes.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State men's basketball team is back home and looking to get back on track in Pac-12 play as they host the Utah Utes.

The Sun Devils (13-5, 2-3 Pac-12) are coming off of an embarrassing 91-68 loss against rival Arizona. Despite the fact that point guard Jahii Carson led all scorers with 20 points, the team could only muster up a 34 percent field goal percentage. The game also demonstrated the importance of shooting guard Jermaine Marshall, because his absence led to Arizona State scoring eight points less than their season average.

The Utes (14-4, 3-3 Pac-12) come into Tempe with momentum after sweeping the Los Angeles schools. Utah's 74-69 win over No. 25 UCLA is its most impressive win to date. Utes forward Jordan Loveridge led the team with 17 points and nine rebounds, and guard Delon Wright also had a strong performance finishing with 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.

Keys to the game

  • Force tough shots - The Utes are ranked third nationally in field goal percentage by shooting 51 percent. If the Sun Devils are going to win the game, they will have to cut off all easy baskets and force the Utes to make mid-range jumpers.
  • Keep Bachynski out of foul trouble - It should not come as a surprise, but in games when center Jordan Bachynski has played into early foul trouble, the Sun Devils have lost. This was evident in the Arizona game when Bachynski picked up two early fouls, and the Wildcats' front court began to dominate. Bachynski will also be facing off against his brother Dallin Bachynski. If Jordan is in foul trouble, look for Dallin to get some significant playing time.
  • Make free throws - In Utah's four losses the Utes have lost by an average of 2.8 points. The Utes are no strangers to close finishes, so the Sun Devils will need to make their free throws down the stretch in order to close out the game.

Tip off will be at 7 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena.