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ASU Basketball: Sun Devils maintain a sizable lead for win over Cal

Final home series

NCAA Basketball: California at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

With only one more regular season game left for the Sun Devils, it is clear that their season was an emotional rollercoaster.

Inconsistencies, cancellations and a mostly new roster plagued them.

But despite it all, they stuck together.

Tonight was evidence that a cohesive Sun Devil unit does exist.

Arizona State topped Cal 71-44.

It was the first game all season where ASU held their opponent to under 50 points.

The Sun Devils started the game by maintaining a lead with a small cushion. They had rhythm, but mistakes were noticeable.

The Devils were 1-5 from three at the half. It was a result of Cal’s great defense on the line, so the Sun Devil offense had to go in a different direction and play the inside game.

“I would have liked for us to finish the half a little better… we left a few things on the table late in the first half,” coach Bobby Hurley said.

In the second half, the lead only grew for the Devils, and there was no looking back.

At one point, the Sun Devils went on a 15-2 run.

It was clear they cleaned up some of the mistakes.

At about three minutes left in the game, the “we want Bobby (Hurley Jr.) chants” started — notably, a sign that the Devils have no chance of losing.

With almost two minutes left, Desert Financial Arena fans got what they asked for — Hurley Jr. entered the lineup.

“If the crowd wants our walk-on’s to come in that’s a great sign, and those guys deserve it because they work extremely hard,” Hurley said.

As for the starting crew, Jay Heath, who has been on fire as of late, continued to shine tonight with 12 points, three rebounds and three assists.

D.J. Horne was the leading scorer with 12 points, three rebounds and three assists.

Alonzo Gaffney recorded 11 points and five rebounds.

As for his mask to protect his nose, Gaffney got the call today that he no longer needs to wear it. However, he has yet to decide if he will continue to wear it and err on the side of caution.

Enoch Boakye had a monster block that had fans on their feet. He also had two rebounds.

Last time ASU played Cal was on January 2. ASU lost 74-50.

“We had to get them back on that one,” Gaffney said.

ASU just came off of a toe-to-toe road win against Utah 63-61.

Now, the Sun Devils have won six of their last seven as they head into their last game of the regular season.

“It’s definitely a good feeling. Way better than losing. I’m just happy we found something that is working for us. We have a rhythm, and it’s just something to build off of going into the tournament. I feel like we are hitting our peak at the right time,” Kimani Lawrence said.

When coach was asked how the team has found success, he said, “It’s our defense… the intensity… the numbers have been really consistent, and we are getting more contributions from a variety of guys… and the guys trust each other.”

These last two games are crucial for a better seeding opportunity for the Pac-12 tournament.

But before then, Arizona State will play Stanford at home on Saturday at 1 p.m. MST.