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Arizona State defeats VCU to move on in Legends Classic

Sportsnaut
Nov 16, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Virginia Commonwealth Rams forward Jamir Watkins (0) reacts against Arizona State Sun Devils guard Desmond Cambridge Jr. (4) during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State held VCU without a field goal in the last 8:58, with the Rams missing their last nine shots, as the Sun Devils prevailed 63-59 on Wednesday night in the Legends Classic at Brooklyn, Mich.

The Sun Devils (3-1) will play No. 20 Michigan in the championship Thursday. The Wolverines defeated Pittsburgh 91-60 in the other game Wednesday.

Arizona State, which trailed by 11 points in the second half, took a 59-57 lead after Duke Brennan made a put-back on his own missed free-throw attempt with 2:51 left.

That basket was part of an 11-1 run.

After VCU’s Jamir Watkins fouled out with 2:37 left, the Rams tied the game at 59 on Brandon Johns Jr.’s two free throws with 1:50 left.

The teams exchanged turnovers before Desmond Cambridge Jr.’s jumper with 1:08 left put Arizona State ahead 61-59.

VCU’s David Shriver and Zeb Jackson missed jumpers on the next possession.

After DJ Horne made two free throws with 21 seconds left to increase the lead to 63-59, Jackson missed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left and Arizona State ran out the clock after getting the rebound.

Frankie Collins, a Michigan transfer, led the Sun Devils with 15 points.

Horne added 12 points and Cambridge and Austin Nunez each had 10.

Jayden Nunn led the Rams (2-1) with 13 points.

VCU made only 17.4 percent of its shots (4 of 23) in the second half.

Arizona State played its second consecutive game without starting forward Marcus Bagley, who is out with head and hip injuries suffered in the Sun Devils’ game with Northern Arizona last week.

VCU went on an 8-2 run over the last 3:39 of the first half to pull away to a 35-28 lead at halftime.

Nunn and Watkins combined for 21 points in the first half on 9-of-14 shooting from the field, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range.

Arizona State went on a field-goal drought of 6:10 early in the second half, missing seven straight shots, enabling VCU to take a 49-39 lead with 9:49 left.

Collins scored on three straight possessions, capped by a 3-point play with 8:13 left to cut the lead to 52-46.

Despite starting forward Warren Washington fouling out with 7:29 left, Arizona State scored eight unanswered points to tie the game at 56 with 5:08 left.

That run ended with 3-pointers by Horne and Nunez.

–Field Level Media