Player of the Game: Luke Walton

Luke Walton came to play when the other two Wildcat juniors did not in ASU's 88-72 win Wednesday night. For his effort, Walton wins the Player of the Game.

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Luke Walton didn't get the rest of the team involved as much on Wednesday night against ASU, but he did manage to score a respectable 26 points in the Sun Devils' 88-72 victory over the Wildcats.

Walton had some turnover problems throughout the game (he finished with a game-high seven) but so did just about every Wildcat. Arizona came out flat and trailed the Sun Devils by fifteen at halftime, 46-31. This time, there would be no Wildcat comeback.

To his credit, Walton played as well or better than any player on the court, finishing with 26 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals, all while shooting 10-13 from the floor. On any other night, Walton is being talked about for his second consecutive Pac-10 Player of the Week honor, but for now it will just have to be another double-double for the Wildcats' rising star.

"I was very pleased with Luke Walton," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "He played with tremendous effort every second of the game but we didn't have enough support for him. But I think Luke just busted his tail."

Over the past three games, Walton has averaged 20.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists per contest and is starting to overtake fellow junior Jason Gardner as the team's MVP and leader.

"We know that Walton's the key to their team," ASU head coach Rob Evans said after the game. "We had to focus on stopping him because he's so crafty."

Walton could have had even better numbers had he connected on a few more of his free throws. He was only 1-5 in the first half but finished 6-11 by going 5-6 in the second half.

However, as with the entire Arizona team on this night, "could have" meant very little in the game.

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