(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
Arizona State took home its second road victory of the season Sunday, taking down the Washington Huskies 78-68 in the final minutes of the game.
The first half of this game looked more like something out of a high school pick-up game than a college matchup. Six minutes into the game, the score was 7-5. The ball movement was stagnant. Both teams showed poor offensive execution.
With two minutes left in the half, following a Gerry Blakes technical foul and the teams knotted at 25, ASU strung together a good drive to go up by two points with a minute left. After a Washington miss, the Sun Devils made an effort to dribble out the clock and go into the halftime with the lead.
That was the plan at least, until Tra Holder turned over the ball with five seconds left to give up a huskie basket that put Washington back in the lead. The bigger mistake however, came when Washington fouled Holder in the next two seconds, sending him to the line to put the Sun Devils up one, 30-29 at half. In the last ten seconds of the half, the lead changed four times.
And it wouldn’t stop changing. Both teams were able to execute better in the second half, trading baskets and getting better looks on offense. With three minutes left in the game, the Sun Devils led 70-66 and the lead had changed 16 times.
However, the Sun Devils finally found the power to put it out of reach for the Huskies in the final minutes of the game, making eight of their final 10 shots. A driving Shaquielle McKissic banked it in after which the Sun Devils made a nice stop to put the ball in the hands of Holder for an uncontested layup.
Blakes collected 23 points for his team in the matchup, while Washington’s Nigel Williams-Goss had 20 in the losing effort. Washington sinks to a seven-game losing streak, the longest in head coach Lorenzo Romar’s tenure.
Player of the Game: Savon Goodman
Goodman was the only player that played a solid game of basketball all the way through tonight. He posted a double-double, with 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Sun Devils, setting them up for the shots they needed in a game where the lead shifted so often.
Biggest Concern: 59 percent from the charity stripe
In a game where the teams were tied 10 times, free throws are going to be the tool in gaining the separation needed to spark a run and go ahead. ASU did not capitalize in that area tonight and will have to in the future if it hopes to separate themselves as an NIT-contender.
Stat of the Game: ASU outrebounding Washington 44-26
What the Sun Devils lacked from the free throw line, they made up for in rebounding. The team was able to come up with twice as many offensive rebounds, thanks mostly to Goodman, giving itself 13 second chance points, a vital part of this team’s ability to stick with Washington in the beginning of the second half.
The Sun Devils will face UCLA Wednesday in Tempe at 7 p.m. ESPN2 will be airing the game.
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