TEMPE, Ariz. — Arkansas-Pine Bluff stayed within striking distance of Arizona State longer than it had in its previous three losses.
A 17-0 run midway through the second half gave Arizona State enough cushion to sustain Wednesday night in a 67-54 win over UAPB, giving the Golden Lions their third straight defeat.
UAPB (1-5) took a 39-37 lead with 13:54 left in the game on a Lazabian Jackson jump shot. From there, the Lions went scoreless for more than 5 minutes, going 0 for 9 from the floor including three missed layups, while the Sun Devils organized their knockout run.
The Lions again were hampered by bad field-goal shooting, connecting on 19 of 62 attempts for 30.6 percent, but they shot well from the perimeter, hitting 7 of 15 three-pointers for 46.7 percent. (They hit 5 of 6 from the arc at one point.)
Jackson scored 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting to lead the Lions, while Mitchell Anderson followed with 12 points. Anderson is still stuck in a shooting slump, however, as he connected on 4 of 13 shots.
This was the first game the Lions played without senior center Terrell Kennedy, who injured his foot in their previous game at Washington State and is expected to be out for four weeks. With junior Daniel Broughton still sidelined as he recovers from knee surgery, coach George Ivory said earlier this week the Lions would handle the low-post game by committee.
But UAPB couldn’t get much production inside, being outscored 22-16 in the paint. Power forward Davon Haynes, UAPB’s leading scorer on the season at 12.4 points per game, was held to four Wednesday.
Carrick Felix led the Sun Devils (5-1) with 21 points, hitting 8 of 12 from the floor. Jonathan Gilling added 13 points and Jordan Bachynski 10, but the Lions managed to hold the nation’s leading freshman scorer in Jahii Carson to nine points.
Arizona State hit 21 of 47 shots for 44.7 percent, including 9 of 22 from three-point range. The Sun Devils nailed 16 of 20 free throws for 80 percent, compared to 9 of 14 (64.3 percent) for the Lions.
UAPB will play the last of three straight Pacific-12 opponents Saturday when it takes on Oregon. Tipoff in Eugene is set for 5:30 p.m. Central.