Texans push Sun Devils to the brink, fall in final seconds

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TEMPE, Ariz. – It came down to the wire Monday night between the Tarleton Texans and Arizona State Sun Devils at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, Arizona. Tarleton led ASU by as many as 12 points, outscoring them off turnovers 22 to 11, but the Sun Devils narrowly avoided the upset by the Texans 62-59.

The Texans got off to a hot start, scoring six points in the first five minutes of play while holding Arizona State to only three points off of free throws. Tarleton’s Jakorie Smith led the team with 16 points on 4-of-10 shooting, plus 7-of-10 from the free thrown line. Smith also recorded seven rebounds against a much taller Arizona State squad.

Tarleton spent the next 10 minutes of the first half expanding their lead to as many as 12 points, leading the Sun Devils 23-11 with seven minutes to play before halftime. Even with a considerable height disadvantage, Arizona State’s tallest player of the game was 7-foot compared to the Texans’ 6-6 forwards, Tarleton outscored the Sun Devils in the paint 32-28 over the course of the game. The Texans’ Shamir Bogues grabbed seven rebounds and scored eight points on the night. Bogues, voted to the 2021-2022 All-WAC Defensive Team, also recorded two steals and two assists to add to his stat sheet. Two made three-pointers by Arizona State gave them the lead by three going into the half.

The Texans started the second half of play the same as they did the first, going on an offensive run of nine points while holding the Sun Devils to only two over the first five minutes of play. Graduate student Shakur Daniel led the team from the point for most of the game, playing all but two minutes on the night. Daniel, along with Smith, recorded double-digit scoring with 10 points, three rebounds, and two steals. He shot 3-of-6 from the field and picked up four points courtesy of the charity stripe. 

With just three minutes remaining in the game, Tarleton gained a seven-point lead over Arizona State 57-50. The Texans picked up two more points off free throws while the Sun Devils went on a 12-point run to give them the final victory over Tarleton 62-59.

Javontae Hopkins, the junior guard from Houston, Texas, recorded eight points and four defensive rebounds for the Texans, including a huge dunk that even impressed the opposing crowd. Junior transfer Lue Williams scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds. Coreyoun Rushin, a transfer guard from Chicago, logged four points and four rebounds. Noah McDavid picked up a team-high four steals, adding four points and two assists.

Up next for Tarleton is their Wisdom Gym opener on Thursday against Kansas Christian at 7 p.m. CT. This will be the program’s first ever matchup against the Falcons. 

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