Arizona State (8-5) heads to Tucson on Sunday night to take on the No. 8 Arizona Wildcats (12-1) who will look to avenge a double-overtime loss to Arizona State last year in mid-February.
Arizona enters the contest after not having a game since December 23 in which they lost their only game of the season to UNLV with a final score of 71-67.
Dec 23, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Stanley Johnson (5) disputes a call towards his bench during a game against UNLV at Thomas and Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
UNLV out-rebounded the Wildcats 46-33 in the game and Arizona only shot 59.3% from the charity stripe to diminish their chances at a perfect pre-season record. Arizona State had defeated the UNLV Running Rebels 77-55 on December 3.
With the beginning of PAC-12 play beginning on Sunday both teams from the Grand Canyon State would love to jump-start their conference season with a victory.
This Arizona State squad has been labeled as one of the more efficient units in recent history, as they are averaging north of 73 points per game, while allowing just over 63 points per game.
Savon Goodman is Arizona State’s best chance at sticking with Arizona. In his past three games Goodman has averaged 18.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals, while shooting 64.7% from the field.
Dec 23, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils forward Savon Goodman (11) looks on against the Detroit Titans during the first half at Wells-Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Jacobsen began the season strong, notching two double-doubles in his first seven games and also played the best game of his career against a solid Pepperdine team in which he dropped 20 points while grabbing nine boards in the process. Foul trouble has limited Jacobsen’s output as of late, but still enters with a solid line of 10.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
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Arizona’s freshman phenom Stanley Johnson has been everything as advertised and then some. The 6’7” forward from Fullerton, Calif. is not only leading the Wildcats in scoring, but also in rebounds. He racked up averages of 14.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game in the 13 preseason games.
To go along with Johnson, the Wildcats’ offense sports threats in Brandon Ashley and Rondae Ellis-Jefferson as the other two players on the team to average at least 10 points per game with 11.7 and 11.2 respectively. Ashley was lost to injury last year before the Arizona State upset of No. 2 Arizona in Tempe last year.
As an entire offensive unit Arizona is shooting a lackadaisical 64.9% from the free throw line ranking them at 283 out of 351 qualifying Division I teams. To be fair, Arizona State is not much better at the stripe, shooting just 67.2% which is good for 209th in Division I.
Arizona 77, Arizona State 61
This game will tip-off at 5:00 p.m MST from McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona and will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1.