'Jacks Come Up Short at Arizona State, 80-73

'Jacks Come Up Short at Arizona State, 80-73

From SFA Athletics 

TEMPE, ARIZONA ( Press Release)- A 12-point second-half deficit proved to be too much to overcome as the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team dropped an 80-73 decision to Arizona State in the penultimate regular season non-conference bout on SFA's schedule.

Clide Geffrard registered a game-high 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting and Thomas Walkup added 18 more on a 7-for-13 performance. A balanced scoring effort was one of the Sun Devils' keys to victory as four players wrapped up the game with 12 or more points.

Prior to Tuesday afternoon, no men's basketball coach had registered a win when going up against Stephen F. Austin head man Brad Underwood in the month of December. Arizona State bench boss Bobby Hurley became the first individual to accomplish that feat by seeing his team connect on 22 of its 30 attempts at the foul line (73.3-percent). The 'Jacks, on the other hand, were allowed just 11 tries from that distance, and finished with nine makes.

Other than the free throw disparity, the teams played a relatively evenly-matched ball game. ASU finished with 20 second-chance points compared to 13 by SFA and held a slim 35-30 rebounding edge over the 'Jacks.

Intent on giving their home crowd one last Christmas gift before Friday, Arizona State opened matters with a 10-2 surge. That salvo through the first 3:10 included a pair of triples from Willie Atwood and Andre Spight.

With the Sun Devils heating up, the 'Jacks called on their own sizzling shooter from the bench and Geffrard was more than happy to provide an appropriate offensive counterpunch. The Pompano Beach, Fla., product slung in a trio of downtown shots and amassed 11 of the 'Jacks first 18 points.

Geffrard's outburst from beyond the arc keyed a 10-0 Lumberjack surge over a span of 3:15 and with Jared Johnson's wide-open layup followed by a pair of free throw makes off the hand of Walkup, SFA had manufactured its first lead of the game.

On top 22-19, SFA saw Arizona State jump ahead for the remainder of the non-conference outing by employing a 7-0 scoring spree. That ASU advantage increased to as many as nine points by the time the halftime horn blared.

Fueled by sophomore Tra Holder, who came out of the halftime gates and pumped in five points, ASU's lead ballooned to 50-38 – its largest of the game – 2:56 into the final 20-minute frame. Floyd, though, sandwiched a layup and his second downtown swish of the game around a pair of Walkup free throw makes to star in a 7-0 Lumberjack run over the ensuing 2:38.

Through the final 14:39, the 'Jacks played inspired basketball and remained well within the thick of things. At no point did the the Sun Devils regain their double-digit advantage.

TJ Holyfield's layup with 5:27 to go made it a three-point game, but a pair of Atwood free throws as well as a deflating three-point make by Gerry Blakes as the shot clock was expiring pushed the Sun Devils' edge back to eight, 70-62, with 3:12 remaining.

A last-gasp comeback effort came by way of Geffrard's three-point play with 66 seconds left. After hitting a layup while falling to the ground, the senior rattled in his free throw attempt, but the Sun Devils made seven of their last eight free throws to close things out.

In exactly one week, SFA will put the wraps on its regular season non-conference schedule by making a trip to Birmigham, Ala. There, the 'Jacks will take on fellow 2015 NCAA Tournament participant UAB at Bartow Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29.