Arizona State proves its back on track with win over UCLA

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Arizona State is now winners of 3 straight games and 4 of their last 5 after an 88-79 win over the UCLA Bruins on Saturday.

Here’s a look at the final stats from the game:

3 Who Mattered

Shannon Evans II: The leading scorer on both teams, Sun Devils guard Evans II tallied 23 points for the Sun Devils. While he wasn’t super efficient from the floor (6-of-17), he took a high volume of shots from beyond the arc, where he was 4-of-13. He chipped in 3 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals to his tally.

Aaron Holiday: Holiday did most of his damage late in the game as the Bruins scraped at a fruitless comeback effort.

Tra Holder: Holder continues to return to form as he dropped 22 points, albeit on 6-of-19 shooting, for the Sun Devils. While Holder needed volume to get over 20 points, he was still just 1 of 2 players on the floor to surpass that mark.

Observations

Holder continues to lead Arizona State’s revival: The Sun Devils have won 4 of their last 5 games, a stark improvement to how ASU started Pac-12 play. Much of that has come with Holder’s resurgence.

In those 4 wins, Holder has scored at least 20 points. In the lone loss at Washington, he had just 12. Holder had a 4-game stretch in January where he never had more than 14 points, and Arizona was just 2-2 in those contests.

Sun Devils continue to take care of the ball: In addition to Holder routinely crossing the 20-point threshold, Arizona State has taken better care of the ball lately. With just 7 turnovers against the Bruins, Arizona State only committed 13 turnovers all week.

That’s a major sign of progression for a talented yet youthful team.

UCLA dropped a big bubble game: Bracket Matrix listed the Bruins as a No. 11 seed in its latest NCAA Tournament projections, which came out Saturday morning.

Saturday’s loss to the Bruins may drop UCLA back out of the projected field as Steve Alford and Co. lost a big opportunity to reinforce its standing on the bubble.

Turning Point

With 9:16 left in the first half, Evans II buried a 3-pointer for the Sun Devils, giving Arizona State a 23-22 lead.

The game featured 6 lead changes and 2 ties to that point, but Arizona State never trailed after that shot.

What’s Next for Arizona State, UCLA

Arizona State hosts in-state rival Arizona on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT, while UCLA hosts Oregon State on Thursday at 8 p.m. PT.

The post Arizona State proves its back on track with win over UCLA appeared first on Diehards.

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