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Arizona State hopes to head into break on high note vs. Florida A&M

Dec 9, 2021; Tempe, AZ, United States; ASU's Kimani Lawrence (4) spins around GCU's Gabe McGlothan (30) during a game at Desert Financial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen-Arizona RepublicAsu V Gcu
Dec 9, 2021; Tempe, AZ, United States; ASU’s Kimani Lawrence (4) spins around GCU’s Gabe McGlothan (30) during a game at Desert Financial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen-Arizona RepublicAsu V Gcu

Arizona State is 5-7 after its home loss against San Francisco on Sunday, but coach Bobby Hurley is trying to accentuate the positives to build the Sun Devils’ confidence.

Hurley’s team has a chance to go into Christmas break on a good note hosting Florida A&M (2-9) on Tuesday in Arizona State’s last non-conference game of the season.

The Sun Devils are coming off the 66-65 loss to San Francisco, which improved to 11-1.

“If you’re a one-loss team at this point in the season, you’ve got to be a pretty good team,” Hurley said. “We lost tonight to a good basketball team. Tough loss; guys competed hard.

“A measure of effort is creating turnovers. We created 21 turnovers, had 17 offensive rebounds. It wasn’t a matter of guys competing. The players that participated in those statistical categories, my hat goes off to those guys.”

Kimani Lawrence and Jay Heath recorded double-doubles — Lawrence with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Heath with 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

The Sun Devils had a season-high 71 field-goal attempts and matched season highs with 46 rebounds and 14 steals.

Florida A&M is coming off a 73-62 loss at UC Santa Barbara on Sunday. The Rattlers are on a five-game losing streak that includes games at Akron, Cincinnati, Santa Clara and Santa Barbara since Dec. 12.

MJ Randolph and Jalen Speer led Florida A&M with 16 points apiece in the loss to UC Santa Barbara.

Randolph leads the Rattlers in scoring (19.2 points a game) and assists (3.5) and is second in rebounding (6.2).

Speer is averaging 10.3 points a game but has struggled from 3-point range, making only 24.4 percent of his shots (11-of-45).

Florida A&M is shooting only 25.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Rattlers have continued to be strong defensively from last season, holding opponents to 35.4 percent from 3-point range.

“It’s a new season, but last year, we were top 10 in the nation in 3-point field-goal defense,” Florida A&M coach Robert McCullum said. “That’s one of our strengths we want to continue.”

–Field Level Media