It was a tale of two halves in Sunday’s contest between the No. 21 Sun Devils and the Utes. Arizona State came out swinging early but it was a strong Utah shooting performance in the second half that resulted in the 75-71 upset victory.
ASU (19-9, 9-7 Pac-12) entered the game looking to clinch their seventh straight season of 20 wins and it looked like it would achieve. The team came out on fire, going 8-for-9 from 3-point range in the first half. Shots fell left and right for the Sun Devils and it seemed as if they would walk out of Jon M. Huntsman Center on a four-game winning streak.
Teams can go cold at any second and for the Sun Devils, it happened to them in the second half. Shots didn’t fall for ASU, as it was left holding a minimal lead against a lights out Utah team. In the second half, the Sun Devils went 9-32 from the field (28.1 percent) and 2-11 from 3-point range (18.2 percent).
Utah (13-13, 6-10) took advantage of ASU’s shooting woes as they clawed their way back into the game after facing a 42-35 deficit at half. They were able to gain their first lead of the game at the 4:42 mark in the third period. From that point on, Utah lead the rest of the way and put on a shooting clinic.
The Utes were red hot from the field, shooting 13-23 (56.5 percent) and 6-9 (66.7 percent) from 3. Utah came into Sunday’s game as the third best 3-point shooting team in the Pac-12. In the third quarter alone, Utah showcased their scoring putting up 26 points and claiming that ever so coveted lead.
It was a tough second half for ASU as they had spurts in the 20 minutes of play of not scoring a basket. In two different instances, the Sun Devils 2:30 or more of not scoring a point/not making a field goal. However, the performance of senior guard Reili Richardson kept the team in the game until the end.
Richardson finished with 22 points (8-17 FG) and drained 50 percent of her 3-ball attempts (6-12). She was the game-highs leading scorer and has shown her improvements of shooting the ball all season.
For Richardson and the rest of the senior group, they finished with 54 of the teams 71 points in the game.
The Sun Devils will look to secure their 20th win of the season and a possible 5th place lock in the Pac-12 Tournament on Friday, as they take on the Cal Golden Bears (10-16, 2-13).