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Feb 2, 2024 5:09 pm

Arizona State, Cal each seeking stronger finishes to games

Arizona State and California enter Saturday’s Pac-12 game at Tempe, Ariz., struggling as of late, especially the Sun Devils.

Arizona State (11-10, 5-5 Pac-12) has lost five of its past six games, including Thursday’s 71-62 loss to visiting Stanford.

California (8-13, 4-6) is coming off a 91-65 defeat at No. 11 Arizona on Thursday. The Golden Bears have lost three of their past five games.

Arizona State was outscored by Stanford 42-29 in the second half.

The Sun Devils were 1 of 11 from the field in the last 7:24 of the game.

Arizona State seemed to be unsettled after center Shawn Phillips Jr. was cut near his eye with close to six minutes left when competing for a rebound.

Phillips had all six of his points and his two blocks in the second half before he was injured and did not return.

“Shawn had it going in that second half stretch until he got cut and had to go out,” Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley said.

Jose Perez led Arizona State with 14 points and six assists.

Jamiyah Neal had 12 points, including six on two 3-pointers early in the game when Arizona State took a 9-0 lead.

“If we make a late surge, we could still end up on top, and I like our chances,” said Neal about his team in the second half of the Pac-12 season. “Every game we play for the rest of the conference schedule is a winnable game.”

California has lost 10 of its previous 11 games against Arizona State.

In the matchup with Arizona State on Dec. 31 at Berkeley, Calif., California blew a 16-point lead in the second half and lost 71-69.

“We didn’t execute down the stretch,” California coach Mark Madsen said. “That’s squarely on me as a head coach. We have to be better. We will be better.”

California has shown improvement lately with victories over Washington State and Stanford at Berkeley before Thursday’s loss at Arizona.

Jaylon Tyson finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season in the loss to Arizona.

–Field Level Media

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