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ASU Basketball: Poor free-throw shooting does the Sun Devils in against Alabama

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State men's basketball team dropped its second consecutive game as it fell to the Alabama Crimson Tide 76-71 in the third place game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.

The Sun Devils controlled the pace of play throughout the game but were crippled by their performance at the free-throw line. The team shot 58 percent from the charity stripe, while Alabama went 26 of 29.

Guard Gerry Blakes had his best performance yet as a Sun Devil as he finished with 21 points and nine rebounds. However, Alabama guard Levi Randolph stole the show. Randolph finished with a game-high 28 points, including a go-ahead jumper with 45 seconds left in the game.

Randolph's jumper gave the Crimson Tide a 70-68 lead, and the Sun Devils were unable to respond. On the ensuing possession, Sun Devil forward Jonathan Gilling hoisted up a deep three with 26 seconds left on the shot clock. The head-scratching shot didn't even hit the rim, and Alabama came down with the rebound. 

The Crimson Tide then closed the game out on the free throw line.

In the first half, Blakes gave the Sun Devils a huge boost. He was able to penetrate the paint, and went for 11 points in the first half. Guard Bo Barnes did a nice job coming off of the bench with eight points, and was a big reason the Sun Devils led 30-27 at the half. 

Freshman point guard Kodi Justice got his first career start for the Sun Devils. Justice finished with eight points and four assists, but left the game early in the second half with cramps. In Justice's absence, the Crimson Tide were able to overcome a seven point deficit, and take control of the game. 

Next up, the Sun Devils will host Colgate on Saturday at home.

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Notes:

- Sun Devil forward Shaquielle McKissic only finished with three points, and forward Willie Atwood was held scoreless.
- Barnes hit a half court three at the buzzer. Those were the only points he scored in the second half.
- Crimson Tide guard Ricky Tarrant scored 21 points off the bench.