Rivalry losing streak continues

Arizona State defeated Arizona 70-68 Sunday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Midway through the second half, it looked as if ASU would cruise to a win, as it was up 17

However the Sun Devils blew the lead and Arizona had plenty of up.

That is of course until Rihards Kuksiks, who scored 17 points and hit a pair of late 3-pointers, took it away.

"They left me open," said Kuksiks. "I did what I've got to do."

Arizona State (21-5, 10-4 Pac-10) won its fifth straight and moved within a half-game of first-place Washington, which will host the Sun Devils on Thursday.

Nic Wise scored 17 points for Arizona, but it was obviously not enough.

Zane Johnson had the best chance to win the game and failed. He grabbed a rebound with five seconds left and could have landed before going back up, but instead missed an easy put back.

For Arizona State, it was another close game and one in which the Sun Devils were able to come out on top, something that the UA has not shown it can do in a close game.

"I find joy in the moment," Sendek said. "I'm exhilarated by what just happened. But I'm also realistic enough, I think, to realize that this game and the previous three could have easily gone the other way. We'd be sitting here - 'We haven't beat them for the last four, what's the matter, you stink.' It's that close."

For some reason, Arizona could not stop Kuksiks. The defensive rotation was awful and there seemed to be little adjustments.

He hit 5-of-10 from behind the arc and seemed to be wide open on every crucial shot that was taken.

Arizona tied the game late when Jordan Hill scored on an offensive rebound to tie it at 68-68 with 55 seconds left. It was one of the few highlights of the night for Hill, as ASU played fantastic defense on him all game.

"I got fouled on that play," Hill said. "I got really pushed on that play."

< 25 seconds later, Jeff Pendergraph was fouled and hit both free throws to give the Sun Devils a 70-68 lead.

After the missed layup by Johnson, ASU's Derek Glasser missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 5 seconds left.

Arizona got the ball, but could not get past half court because of the pressure by ASU.

"We're trying to get the ball in Nic's hands," Arizona coach Russ Pennell said. "We just mishandled the ball. It's unfortunate."

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