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ASU Basketball: Sun Devils can’t keep pace with No. 3 Bruins, fall 102-80

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LA was no La La Land for the Sun Devils

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at UCLA Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Looking for their 10th win of the season and third in conference play, the Arizona State Sun Devils trekked to Pauley Pavillion to take a crack at the No. 3 team in the nation, the UCLA Bruins. The Sun Devils had hot starts to both halves and even cut a a 25-point lead down to ten, but couldn’t contain the fast-paced Bruin offense as UCLA ran away with a 102-80 win. Senior Issac Hamilton led the Bruins with 33 points while T.J Leaf chipped in 19. Lonzo Ball — the Bruin’s nationally-heralded star — only took five shots on the night but collected 12 assists to lead the Bruins.

ASU (9-10, 2-4 in Pac-12) answered a 5-0 run to open the first half with a pair of buckets, but the Bruins took control of the game from there and built up a sizable lead early. Hamilton was on fire from deep early on, draining seven of his nine first half attempts from downtown as UCLA sprinted out to a 54-39 lead heading into the second half.

An early run in the third quarter aided by uncharacteristic missed offensive opportunities from UCLA allowed ASU to climb back within contention, at one point pulling with ten points at 57-47 thanks to consecutive baskets from Justice and Olekka.

A couple minutes later, Torian Graham (team-high 26 points) sank his fifth 3-pointer of the night and Tra Holder (22 points) slashed his way to pair of tough baskets to will the Sun Devils back within single digits for the first time since they trailed 18-9 early in the first half.

That was probably the wrong time for ASU to go cold. The Sun Devils missed their next six shots and a pair of free throw attempts as the Bruins sprinted back out to a comfortable double-digit lead. ASU’s offense mustered only five points over the next five minutes and UCLA salted the win away.

ASU falls to 9-10 on the year with a 2-4 conference record heading into Sunday’s visit to USC.