"He is definitely responsible for their win tonight," Arizona's head coach Sean Miller said. "ASU was very smart to put him in the position to make those shots. We really had no answer for him."
Talk about an understatement.
The junior who is having his best season yet in the maroon and gold was 5-8 beyond the arc and 11-17 overall from the field, and along with Rihards Kuksiks' 17 points off the bench helped Arizona State (19-8, 9-5 Pac-10) to a 30-25 lead at halftime.
Arizona (13-13, 7-7) kept the Sun Devils at arm's length in the first few minutes of the period, but at the same time weren't able to wrestle away the lead away from the visitors in the second stanza.
Jerren Shipp once again provided a big lift in reserve duty, scoring eight points in the last five and half minutes of the contest, to give ASU a nine-point with 2:16 left.
Derek Glasser scored nine points this afternoon, and registered six assists with no turnovers.
"Heck of a win for us," ASU senior guard Derek Glasser said. "Best of the year that's for sure."
The cold shooting that plagued the Sun Devils in the first meeting between the teams was nowhere to be found today in Tucson. ASU shot 51.9 percent for the game, and 66.7 percent in the second half. They were torrid from three-point range converting 11 of 20 from that distance.
"That was the big difference (from last time )," Glasser said. "It's a huge win for us. Any win in the conference is a big win for us."
Abbott didn't disagree.
"Considering who this was, I say yes, this was the best game," Abbott said. "We wanted to win against UA and we did that."
ASU had just seven turnovers which negated losing the battle on the glass 27-21. Ironically, the free shooting that was the Devils' Achilles heal in Tempe, doomed the Wildcats today as they were just 24-32 from the charity stripe. Nic Wise led Arizona with 18 points.
Up next for the maroon and gold is a crucial road trip to the Bay Area, where a sweep can assure them capturing first place with one week left in the regular season. ASU will begin that two-game series with a visit to Stanford Thursday at 8pm MT.
Thanks to Andrew Gruman who assisted on this article