Arizona State’s last game of 2017 ended with a bang.
The Sun Devils (11-3, 2-0) defeated the Utah Utes (10-3, 1-1) on Sunday in a very close and competitive matchup. It could be argued that this was ASU’s most tightly-contested victory of the season.
The Utes gave everything they had and kept up with the Sun Devils to the very end. In a thrilling victory, ASU won 83-81 with the help of Kianna Ibis’s career high 30 points.
It was a back-and-forth matchup, to say the least, as both teams recorded similar statistics in all categories of the game. From shooting percentage to points in the paint, this was a New Years Eve game to witness.
The teams’ field goal percentages, free throw percentages, and even points in the paint were incredibly similar. The Utes scored 38 points in the paint compared to ASU’s 40, which is surprising considering that the Sun Devils have bettered almost every team they’ve come up against in that category.
The Utes also fell short of one board to tie Arizona State as Utah grabbed 34 total rebounds on the game. ASU notched 35. Utah has been one of the only teams to keep up with the unpredictable play of the Sun Devils.
In the first quarter, Arizona State came out scorching scoring a overwhelming 34 points. As a response, Utah held down the Sun Devils to nine points in the second quarter while the Utes scored an almost double 17 points. By the end of the half, ASU was up by seven with a lot of time for the Utes to get back in the game.
As both teams re-evaluated their plans coming back from halftime, the Utes and the Sun Devils scored an even 19 points to cap the third quarter.
Afterward, the Utes made a run in the fourth quarter to score 26 points to catch up to Arizona State. However, it wasn’t enough for Utah to win the game by a close-two point victory.
For their first game of 2018, Arizona State will go head-to-head against the California Golden Bears on Jan. 5th at 8:00 p.m. MST.