ASU Stumbles Late Against #10 Washington

The smallest player on the court had the biggest impact on the day, as 5'8" Washington guard Nate Robinson scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half to pace the 10th ranked Huskies (17-3, 7-2 Pac-10) to a 79-70 victory over Arizona State on Sunday in Tempe before a crowd of 9,434.

The Sun Devils (15-6, 4-5 Pac-10) kept the game close throughout, but were spurned by an 11-0 second half Husky run to drop their 4th game in the last six in conference.

Up 41-38, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar drew a technical foul after Brandon Roy was called for a charge while driving for a lay up. Sophomore Kevin Kruger knocked down both free throws, and junior Tyrone Jackson nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to put ASU up 43-41 with just over 14 minutes to play.

Washington responded as Roy's three-point play sparked the 11-0 Husky run that lasted over 4 minutes allowing the UW to bounce back from a setback earlier in the week against Arizona.

The Huskies forced 21 Sun Devil turnovers with stifling defense that forced the Devil's guards near half court in an effort to prevent Ike Diogu from getting the ball inside.

"I thought we did a good job against everything except their pressure, and we should be able to handle it," said ASU Coach Rob Evans of the Washington defense.

Diogu finished the game with a very quiet 14 points, extending his double digit scoring streak to 80 games, on 7-13 shooting and added 13 rebounds along with 2 blocks. Diogu made just one trip to the free throw line despite being the nation's leader in both attempts and conversions.

"We just weren't as tough as we normally are," said the junior forward, "and that was a big reason we didn't get into our offense."

"We took care of the basketball," said Romar of his club's 2nd half performance. "I thought as a team, (we) did a very good job on Ike Diogu. He is the toughest match up in college basketball."

Diogu managed only 5 shots from the field in the first half, and was relegated to a complimentary role as guards Jason Braxton and Kevin Kruger paced the Devils early with 9 and 8 points respectively. Braxton was perfect from the field in the half, but was upset to see a golden chance slip away.

"It's very disappointing," said the only 4-year senior on the club. "We continue to play well in certain spurts for 30-35 minutes of the game and we can't finish it. We were at home and had them on their heels and we took the lead for awhile and couldn't capitalize on it."

The Devils fought back in the second half and cut the lead to 60-54 with 5:48 left to play on Bryson Krueger's 3-pointer.

Washington responded with a free throw and a Nate Robinson 3-pointer from the wing that helped seal the victory for the first place team in the Pac-10.

GAME NOTES: Diogu was honored before the game by his alma mater, Garland High School, by having his number 50 retired...Diogu said he was "really caught off guard" by the honor...The Sun Devils have now lost their past 3 meetings against the Huskies dating to last season...The game featured the two highest scoring teams in the Pac-10...Washington came in averaging just over 88 points per contest while ASU had been averaging just over 77...ASU managed just three free throw attempts in the last 14 minutes despite being in the bonus...The win vaulted the Huskies into a first-place tie with Arizona in the conference.

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