ASU MBB: Sun Devils Play Utah in Saturday Matinee

Following a thrilling 78-77 victory over Colorado, ASU Basketball is back on its home floor less than 48 hours later to take on the Utah Utes.

The last time the Arizona State men’s basketball team started 3-1 in conference play was January 2013. After late-game heroics by Tra Holder propelled ASU to a win Thursday night, the Sun Devils will have an opportunity to reach that milestone against Utah this afternoon.

Utah is coming off its first Pac-12 loss, a 10-point defeat at Arizona after beating Colorado in its conference home opener.

Last season, the Utes embarrassed head coach Bobby Hurley’s team in Salt Lake City, racing out to a 30-2 lead before winning 81-46. Utah currently owns a four-game winning streak against the Sun Devils.

For the Sun Devils, guard Torian Graham leads the team in scoring with 18.3 points per game while coming off the bench and has developed his ability to score in the lane to complement his ability to shoot. Graham is averaging 22.2 points over his last five games.

Utah has lacked a go-to scorer early but transfers Sedrick Barefield and David Collette have taken on crucial roles for head coach Larry Krystkowiak . Barefield has quickly become a viable shooting threat while Collette is shooting almost 68 percent in the paint.

ASU will need offensive  production from its backcourt but the x-factor for the Sun Devils is Jethro Tshisumpa. The freshman recorded three blocks in eight minutes against Colorado and has progressed tremendously as a rim protector through 16 games.

Tshisumpa returns to the rotation after being ejected for a flagrant foul 2 in the first half on Saturday. The Sun Devils looked noticeably different without the big man on the floor and he will be needed to matchup with Collette and forward Kyle Kuzma.

Tip-off for today’s game is at 3 p.m. MST from Wells Fargo Arena. The game can be seen on Pac-12 Networks.

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