With only five games remaining the Devils needed a win to keep pace and give themselves a shot at winning the Pac-10 title, and after a sloppy start, Ty Abbott found his stroke and helped the team do just that.
Abbott ended with a game high 19 points to go along with 5 assists and 5 three-pointers made, though early on it wasn't looking good for the home team.
"I think we were just too sped up in the beginning," Abbott admitted, "We didn't really have a lot of poise. We were just out there running around so it took us a little bit of time to settle down and get going, and it showed in the beginning with the ten turnovers and they got on their run and were up by almost ten at one point."
Even with all the first half problems the teams were tied after the first 20 minutes, and Abbott and company weren't about to let another one slip away at home.
"The second half I just slowed down a little bit," Abbott pointed out, "in the first half like I said as a team we were kind of sped up. The second half we got out and ran a little bit and had a little more time. Derek did a good job of finding me open in transition and that's when we get a lot of threes in transition when they can't match up. I got a little chance to take my time, take a deep breath and focus on the form."
The Sun Devils have been getting out and running a lot more lately, but tonight, like Thursday, featured a more traditional low-scoring affair for ASU.
"I don't know if we played a low scoring style, I think we just missed a lot of shots against Oregon State and tonight it seemed like we missed some open ones again," senior guard Derek Glasser mentioned, "We're finding a way to win even though were not making shots, and defensively we played well again tonight.
"We held them way below their average so for us to continue moving forward and continue to win were gonna have to keep doing that, holding teams below their average and holding teams in the fifties and low sixties for us to have a chance to win.
"We're tying to get out and run a little more. Defensively whenever we bring energy and effort on the defensive end is when we hold teams to well below their average and in the second half defensively I thought we were much better than the first half. Guys were just closing out better, keeping guys in front of them better. Armstead played pretty well, he made some tough shots that really created a lot of things for them and they fought back when we went on our run and they jumped on us early. They played well tonight and I was just proud of the guys and the way we responded in the second half."
The Sun Devils now travel to Tucson to face one of the teams they are currently tied with in the Wildcats, and with games against Stanford, USC, UCLA, and conference-leading Cal, they essentially control their own destiny though having most of them on the road will be a tough test.
"We'd like to be one game ahead with five to play, but we've proven we can win on the road so far," Glasser declared, "I think we're even on the road, and it's going to be tough but teams who win conference championships win on the road, and that's what we're going to have to do.
"U of A put it on us pretty good up here; we're going to have to play a heck of a game down there to beat them. The same goes for Cal, the put it on us here too and we were up by 40 against Stanford and they cut it to 9 or whatever so we know what's ahead of us and we know how we have to prepare and it's just a question of if we can do it or not. "We've played our way into it, I think we've let a couple of games get away here or there but we're in a very good position, only one game back, and we still have to play the team in first place so we control our own destiny and I think this is a resilient team and the majority of the teams left we play beat us. I think we're gonna respond well and hopefully win."