Arizona State cruises past Arkansas for 83-68 win

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Arizona State is the midst of four games in a week. So far, the Sun Devils have passed their tests. A big hurdle awaits Saturday night.

On Friday, the Sun Devils' Carrick Felix scored a career-high 24 points to lead Arizona State past Arkansas 83-68 in the third round of the Las Vegas Invitational, putting ASU in the final Saturday against No. 15 Creighton.

Felix, who had 17 first-half points, was 8 of 10 from the field, part of a 56 percent shooting effort for the Sun Devils (4-0). He also hit all four of his 3-point attempts.

"I was just patient on offense and I was a good floor general," said Felix, a senior. "Our guards basically took over the floor. Our bigs were big for us. We definitely have some things to work on. Transition was a problem for us. We've got to do a lot of work on that."

Arizona State trailed 39-34 late in the first half, but closed the half on a 9-2 run. The Sun Devils scored the second half's first six points and never trailed again. ASU led 70-56 with 7:47 left, and the Razorbacks (3-1) got no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.

"We played well offensively on both ends of the floor," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "We handled their pressure and (committed) only 12 turnovers. Against a very explosive, high-scoring Arkansas team, we held them to 68 points and under 40 percent shooting. Our guys played together and against a program like Arkansas."

BJ Young had 29 points and was 12 of 24 from the field for the Razorbacks.

"I could have had a better defensive effort," Young said. "I thought we talked more on defense. We need to have a better focus as a team. I need to do better on both ends of the court."

Rashad Madden added 11 points and Hunter Michelson had 10 for Arkansas.

"In the first half, we had good rhythm and a good flow to the game," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "At the very end of the first half, we had some miscues. We didn't have good possessions. We gave up good shots. In the second half, we never got our rhythm. You can see the youth and immaturity of our team."

Jahii Carson had 19 points for the Sun Devils, and Jordan Bachynski added 14 points and 13 rebounds. Jonathan Gilling also grabbed 13 boards.

On Saturday, Arkansas will face Wisconsin for third place in the tournament.

"We have to deal with adversity and how to take advantage of adversity," Anderson said. We have to play with a sense of urgency. (Arizona State) did a good job taking care of the ball and did a good job on the glass."

Arkansas was outrebounded 42-32.

The win gave ASU only its fourth 4-0 start in 26 seasons. However, the Sun Devils were just 20 of 36 from the free-throw line.

"In three of four of our games, we have not shot the ball well from the free-throw line," Sendek said. "We have four games in one week. We're going to play one of the nation's best programs (Saturday). Luckily, our guys are young."

Both teams led by as many as five points in the first half, which featured seven ties and four lead changes.

Felix's previous career high of 23 points came March 4 in a win against Arizona. Young, who had 16 first-half points, was two points off his career high of 31 scored against Florida on Feb. 18.

The teams' only previous meeting came in the 1991 NCAA tournament in Atlanta. The Razorbacks won 97-90 and went on to the regional final in Charlotte, N.C.

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