TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State and UCLA played about the same game twice this season.
The Sun Devils’ Jonathan Gilling stood out in each game, this time with help from the ever-more-comfortable Chris Colvin.
UCLA simply made more plays.
Gilling had 17 points for the second time in as many starts against the Bruins this season and Colvin had 10 points and a career-high nine assists Thursday, but the Bruins pulled away in the second half for a 66-57 victory and a season sweep.
ASU (8-20, 4-12) trailed by four when Trent Lockett hit two free throws with 8:42 remaining before the Bruins went on a 17-4 run to put the game out of reach at 66-49 with four minutes left. They won by 17, 75-58, in the first meeting in Los Angeles on Jan. 7.
UCLA, which maintained its slim hopes of gaining a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament, pulled away from the Sun Devils when they were able to finally get a handle on Gilling and Colvin. Six-foot-7 Gilling did not score in the final 13 minutes, and the Bruins (16-12, 9-6) kept Colvin from penetrating and dishing as he did earlier.
“The kid Gilling really hurt us,” said UCLA coach Ben Howland, who matched 6-foot-10 forward David Wear against him most of the game.
“He’s such a good shooter. He’s a quick-release guy, and he’s a hard matchup because he’s an undersized ‘4’ man who plays on the perimeter and moves in many ways more like a guard than a big. When he plays the ‘4,’ it’s a harder matchup for teams that he plays the ‘3.’”
Lazeric Jones led UCLA with 20 points, Wear had 13 and Joshua Smith had 10 despite being limited to 13 minutes because of foul trouble.
ASU small forward Carrick Felix, who was removed from the starting lineup on the road trip to the Washingtons last weekend, did not attend the game because of a virus that has kept him away from practice all week. His availability for Saturday’s game against USC remains unknown, Sendek said, although it appears unlikely.
“Even if he is back, having been in bed all week, I don’t know what energy he’ll be able to muster,” Sendek said.
Without Felix, Lockett moved up to his normal off-guard position and Colvin made his third straight start at the point, playing perhaps his most controlled game of the season. He made four of eight field goal attempts, had five rebounds and committed only three turnovers.
Colvin, who took time to assimilate, was in charge from the early stages. He scored one of the Sun Devils’ first six baskets and assisted on the other five as ASU took a quick 14-9 lead. UCLA went on a 14-3 run, a sign of things to come, to take a lead it never relinquished. The Sun Devils missed all 11 field goal attempts, several from right underneath, and had six turnovers in that run.
“I’m really pleased with Chris’ continued progress. He has improved now as much as anybody that I can see,” Sendek said.
“He’s staying the course. Chopping wood. He’s showed up every day and listened and learned and worked. We essentially can’t take him out of the game, don’t take him out of the game, so he has the opportunity to play through a lot of things, and I think that is helping him.”
Colvin, Gilling and Lockett played 39 minutes. ASU shot 41 percent from the field, with Gilling and Colvin going 10 for 23 with four 3-pointers. The Sun Devils, as ever, had trouble with turnovers, committing 18, five more than UCLA. ASU entered the game 335th out of 337 NCAA Division 1 teams in turnover margin at minus-5.3 per game.
“Obviously, the turnovers continued to be a major problem for us. We don’t seem to be able to get out of our own way when it comes to that column on the stat sheet,” Sendek said.
“We had any number of point-blank shots, and we didn’t capitalize on them. We have to make the plays we are capable of making, score the shots were are capable of scoring, and that will put our team in a different position as we move through the game,” Sendek said.
UCLA guard Tyler Lamb, one of two Bruins who had started all 27 previous games, was held out for the first four minutes because he “failed to follow through on an academic responsibility,” Howland said, adding that Lamb’s status for the game at Arizona on Saturday has not been determined. “It may be one more game” without starting, he said.
ASU played the second half with only six men, Sendek benching starter Kyle Cain, who had a basket and three rebounds in 10 minutes of the first half. Cain was suspended for the Los Angeles trip earlier in the season.
“As we go through the duress of this kind of season, it is even more important that we maintain the highest possible standard of comportment and approach,” said Sendek, who did not get into further detail.