Goodman, Sun Devils take down UCLA
TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State wanted to take advantage of UCLA inside, despite the Bruins’ length and athleticism in the paint.
The Sun Devils did just that, thanks in large part to broad-shouldered sophomore Savon Goodman.
Goodman hit all eight of his shots while scoring 20 points, and he grabbed 12 rebounds to help Arizona dominate inside for a 68-66 win over UCLA on Wednesday night.
"He’s really athletic, very quick and does a very good job of getting shots off," UCLA coach Steve Alford said. "He’s been playing at a high level and he helped his average today."
Arizona State (14-12, 6-7 Pac-12) rallied from an early 10-point deficit and made the big plays down the stretch to pick up a much-needed conference win.
The Sun Devils did it by overpowering the Bruins, grabbing 12 more rebounds against the Pac-12’s best team on the glass and outscoring them 36-22 in the paint.
Goodman led the way, muscling his way past UCLA’s defenders to score most of his points at the rim.
"It was an unbelievable feeling, but to win iced it," Goodman said. "If we lose that game down the stretch, to score 20 points and finish 8 for 8 doesn’t mean that much."
Despite their troubles stopping Goodman and some second-half foul trouble, the Bruins still had a shot at the end.
Arizona State led by six with a just over two minutes left, but Norman Powell hit a pair of shots and Isaac Hamilton scored on a drive with 7.9 seconds left to pull UCLA within 67-66.
Tra Holder hit 1 of 2 free throws to give the Bruins a final shot, but Hamilton’s 3-pointer at the buzzer hit the back of the rim to send UCLA to a disappointing loss at a crucial part of the season.
Powell had 16 points, and Kevon Looney and Bryce Alford added 14 each for the Bruins (16-11, 8-6).
"We had been playing well, but for some reason we struggled tonight," Steve Alford said.
The Sun Devils had something to do with it.
Holder repeatedly dribbled his way through UCLA’s defense to score or set up teammates, finishing with 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds. He also had six turnovers.
Shaquielle McKissic gave Arizona State a lift when Goodman wasn’t scoring, adding 14 points.
The Sun Devils also tightened up defensively in the second half, holding the Bruins to 1-of-9 shooting from 3-point range in the final 20 minutes.
"I think we’ve learned, sometimes the hard way," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "But even before we had some of these kind of results, if you really inspected things close, you could see signs of improvement."
With a little over two weeks left in the regular season, the Bruins and Sun Devils are hoping for a late-season push into the NCAA Tournament.
UCLA is in much better shape, winning five of its past six games since a two-game sweep by the Oregon schools puts its bracket hopes in jeopardy.
Arizona State still has some work to do in an up-and-down season that includes a win over Arizona but also some resume-busting losses.
Powell gave the Bruins a lift early.
He scored 23 points in a win over Oregon on Saturday and proved to be a tough matchup for the Sun Devils, starting with a running hook on the game’s opening possession. Powell had 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting by halftime.
The rest of the Bruins were pretty good, too, hitting 14 of 27 shots in the first half.
Goodman and McKissic kept the Sun Devils close.
Goodman hit all six of his shots, including a three-point play on an alley-oop, and had 13 points by halftime. McKissic added 11, helping Arizona State to rally from a 10-point deficit to pull within 36-32 by halftime.
Neither team could gain much separation in the second half before Arizona State opened up the late six-point lead.
UCLA clawed its way back to get a final shot, but couldn’t convert after Powell was cut off inside and kicked out to Hamilton for the final chance.
"Norm found Isaac, but we just couldn’t get the shot to fall," Steve Alford said. "We’ll have to see how we bounce back."
UCLA: Noah Allen was 3 for 18 from 3-point range in Pac-12 games before hitting one from the arc in the first half.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils retired former player James Harden’s No. 13 during a halftime ceremony. Now a member of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, he played at Arizona State from 2007-09.
UCLA plays at No. 7 Arizona on Saturday.
Arizona State hosts USC on Sunday.