Cougars Use Late Second Half Surge to Top Devils

Washington State's methodical and slow paced style is one that can easily frustrate opponents. However, Arizona State seemed to cope effectively with that element during the vast majority of the first half. Nevertheless, in the second half the visitors from Tempe faltered en route to a 63-56 loss in Pullman.

In the first twenty minutes, the Sun Devils were never able to completely shake off the Cougars, as their lead never exceeded five points. A dunk by Ike Diogu gave ASU a 12-7 lead in the 12:00 minute mark. Four minutes later, two Jason Braxton free throws keep the margin in tact 21-16. A 7-0 Cougar run ended with a Justin Bellegarde bucket that gave Washington State a 23-21 edge with 3:30 left in the half. Allen Morill helped ASU regain the lead back as they sported a 26-23 advantage at halftime.

In the first eight minutes the Devils scored only one field goal and a total of six points, but trailed the Cougars only 34-32. Washington started to blow the game wide open, and outscored ASU 21-11. Thanks to a pair of three pointers by Thomas Kelati and Isaiah Simmons, Washington State grabbed a 55-43 lead with only four minutes left in the game. Jeff Varem made five of six free throws in the last couple minutes, and fended off three point baskets by both Jamal Hill and Steve Moore to secure the victory.

Diogu kept his double digit-scoring streak alive despite 2-7 shooting from the field, and a near perfect 9-10 from the charity stripe. However his five turnovers surely didn't help his team's struggles in Pullman. Jason Braxton was the only other Sun Devil in double digits with ten points, and had almost as many turnovers (seven). ASU shot 44.4% from the field, and had one of their better nights at the line converting 77.8%. However, a season high 24 turnovers may be the most telling stat of them all. Washington State's Jeff Varem led all players with 17 points.

Do conference teams overlook ASU when they play them on Saturdays? Rob Evans' squad hope the answer is yes. In Los Angeles, the Sun Devils defeated a Trojans team that was fresh off an upset of Arizona. This Saturday, ASU will meet Washington who also upset Arizona. For a team starving for wins and consistency, there's a strong desire for history to repeat itself.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories