A few weeks ago, Herb Sendek told reporters every day he looks at the bottom line on ESPN and looks at all the upsets from the previous day. It seems like every day, a major conference team is losing to a mid-major. This season, the Sun Devils have not lost to a mid-major, and that trend continued Saturday afternoon with a 81-74 victory over Pepperdine.
The Waves started out hot from the field, making eight of their first 11 shots and held a 13-7 lead at the first media timeout. The Waves led for almost the entire first half and took a 31-29 lead into halftime.
The Sun Devils shot just 34 percent from the field in the first half, including 0-6 from 3-point range and ASU missed five free throws in the first half. Pepperdine came into the game leading the nation in 3-point defense.
The Sun Devils tied the game on two free throws by Shaquille McKissic early in the second half, Pepperdine went on a 10-3 run to take a 41-34 lead with 16:20 left in the game. The Sun Devils responded with a 20-2 run to take control of the game.
Pepperdine pulled within five with 5:57 left in the game, but the Sun Devils were able to close the game out at the free throw line. ASU shot 34-48 from the free throw line Saturday afternoon, including 27-36 in the second half.
The Sun Devils were led by McKissic and Eric Jacobsen. McKissic led the team with 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Jacobsen added 20 points and nine rebounds. It was the first time two Sun Devils scored 20 points since ASU played Oregon State last season.
Tra Holder tallied a career-high 15 points off the bench and Gerry Blakes scored 16 points and grabbed four rebounds. Pepperdine was led by Stacy Davis' 26 points and nine rebounds.
Up next for ASU is a matchup with Marquette on Tuesday night in Wisconsin.