Sun Devils Routed By Wildcats

Some save their best for last, and some like ASU save their worst. It its most pitiful performance of the year, the ASU was maligned by its archrival to the tune of 73-56. The loss dashed any Sun Devil dreams of winning the Pac-10 tournament, which would have assured a berth in the NCAA tournament. Consequently, ASU is sitting on the NIT bubble.

The first half was a horrendous one for the Devils. It took them nine minutes to score their fourth point of the game versus the 12 points the Cats scored during the same time frame. During that time they allowed Arizona to score a bundle of second chance points, while continuing to miss (what else?) free throws. Ironically, Arizona wasn't at the top of its game, but on a night like this they didn't have to be. The Sun Devils decided to wake up late in the first half, and went on a 10-0 run to narrow the gap 23-18 with 5:01 left to play. ASU blew several opportunities to chip away at the lead, and when the two teams went down to the locker rooms it was Arizona was leading 32-23. The second half Arizona stormed out of the gate to lead 40-27 at the 16:36 mark. Jason Braxton made ASU's first free throw with 10:16 left to narrow the gap to 50-40, but the Cats came back to lead 57-43 at the 7:05 mark. The game was essentially over with 4:51 left when the Devils trailed 63-43.

To no one's surprise ASU was horrific from the field shooting 34.8%. However, a 16.7% free throw shooting grossly overshadows that stat. Oddly enough the Devils committed only 12 turnovers to UA's 18. Jason Braxton was the only ASU player in double figures with 12 points.

Like a car going 100 mph and stuck in neutral, ASU's efforts tonight were futile to say the least. Arizona didn't play well in the first half, but a dismal display by Rob Evans' team put had ASU playing catch-up for virtually all 40 minutes. Now ASU fans are left enduring another painfully disappointing season, with hopes that a senior dominated team, along with stellar freshmen, will reverse the Maroon and Gold Fortunes in the 2002-03 season.

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