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ASU Men’s Basketball: Sun Devils fall in close one against Huskies

(Photo: WCSN/Scotty Bara)

In a game where the Sun Devils couldn’t make a large enough run to take any sort of lead, Arizona State fell to the Washington Huskies 89-85 to split the home series with the Washington schools. Sophomore guard Kodi Justice had 17 points for ASU, and senior guard Andrew Andrews led the way for the Huskies with 30 points and 12 assists.

Washington came storming out of the gates getting off to a 9-0 leading in the first two minutes of the game. The run was broken when senior forward Willie Atwood hit a corner three to make it 9-3, until Pac-12 leading scorer Andrews responded by hitting his second three of the game.

Despite UW shooting 70 percent to ASU’s 43 percent, the Sun Devils were only down two at the 13 minute mark. Junior guard Andre Spight tied it up hitting a mid-range jumper off the glass, his second make of the game.

With 7:44 remaining in the half, Washington held a nine point lead while still shooting tremendously from the floor at a 76 percent rate, largely thanks to the fact that 20 of their 29 points were in the paint. ASU on the other hand was still struggling to score, only making two of their last eight shots and shooting 36 percent from the floor.

ASU was down seven at the last media timeout with 3:39 to go despite shooting very poorly from the floor as well as the free throw line. The Sun Devils made three of their nine attempts from the line, while also turning the ball over seven times and only recording two assists.

Down 11 in the final minute, Justice hit his first three-pointer of the game to cut the deficit to eight, but Andrews responded hitting a long two as time expired to bring the lead back to double digits, and the Huskies led 44-34 at halftime.

With a little over a minute played in the second half, UW freshman forward Marquese Chriss picked up his fourth foul of the game. Chriss along with the the other two of the top three Washington frontcourt players had three fouls at halftime.

Two of ASU’s first three baskets of the second half were three-pointers, one from Holder and one from senior guard Gerry Blakes, only his second made three-pointer of conference play. To follow up the Blakes three, junior forward Obinna Oleka picked up three points the old fashioned way, finishing with contact. Just like that, the Sun Devils were down by four.

Washington’s frontcourt foul troubles had finally made a monumental impact on the game when junior forward Malik Dime fouled out with 15:52 remaining in the game.

After reaching as large as nine points early in the second half, the Husky lead was cut to three with 13:29 remaining after a nifty reverse layup by Justice, to make it 56-53 Washington. But the Washington lead was quickly extended back up to nine following consecutive three-pointers from freshman guard David Crisp.

With 9:24 remaining, the Sun Devils cut the lead back down to two following two made free throws from junior forward Savon Goodman. The Sun Devils still had yet to lead in the game, and that would not change following an immediate five point swing by Washington’s Dejounte Murray to make it 69-62.

ASU brought it back to within two with with 4:40 remaining following a made free throw from Holder, but a three-pointer from UW freshman forward Dominic Green brought it back up to five the following possession.

The Husky lead was seven points with 1:37 remaining following a Justice three, and coming out of a timeout Oleka stole the inbound pass and finished with a dunk to cut it to five. But the Huskies did just what they had done all game, by responding with a three, this time by freshman forward Matisse Thybulle. With under a minute remaining, the Sun Devils trailed by seven, and forced another turnover on the inbound, leading to a three by Atwood, and just like that the Sun Devils were down three with 37.6 seconds on the clock.

Atwood hit another three with eight seconds left to cut it to two, but clutch free throws from Andrews sealed the deal.

Player of the Game: Andrew Andrews

Andrews had an incredibly efficient game for the Huskies and got essentially whatever he wanted on the offensive end all game long. To go along with his double-double, he tacked on six rebounds as well in a game where foul trouble kept their frontcourt players on the bench for a majority of the game.

Biggest Concern: Free throw shooting

The Sun Devils struggled to take the lead seemingly all game, but got within two points on multiple occasions. Close games like this one are where teams need to knock down their free throws, and ASU shot 55 percent from the line making 16 of their 29 attempts.

Unsung Hero: Savon Goodman

Flashes of the pre-conference play we saw in Goodman appeared in this game, and the stats reflect it. He finished with a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and was a large factor in getting the Washington bigs in foul trouble early on.

Stat of the Night: Four Huskies with at least four fouls

Washington leads the conference in blocks per game with 6.9, and essentially by cause and effect their big men are very prone to foul trouble. The ASU frontcourt did a fantastic job of testing the discipline of the Washington bigs, forcing their top three big men to pick up at least four fouls, two of which fouled out.

What’s Next?

The Sun Devils will travel to the Bay Area to take on Cal on Jan. 21.

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