"The first half was really impressive in a lot of different ways," said coach Ken Bone.
Motum got the Cougars on the board first, on an assist from junior guard Reggie Moore. Freshman guard DaVonté Lacy stole the ball and converted on the Sun Devils' first possession. A dunk, a foul and a 3-pointer later and WSU was up 10-0.
After struggling in recent weeks, Lacy's performance was especially welcome. In addition to scoring 17 points – 14 of them in the first half – he added three rebounds, four assists and a steal. He also took a charge early in the first half. While he did miss his first three 3-point shots, he connected on four of his final six attempts.
"I think I went through a little patch," he said. "Not much physically, but mentally. But now I'm over it and I'm ready to play and win the rest of the season."
Arizona State (8-19, 4-11) got on the board with 16 minutes, 32 seconds left, on a 15-foot jumper by Chris Colvin.
"It was much better than playing a zone against them," Bone said in comparison to their 71-67 loss in Tempe on Jan. 28. "We manned them down there for about 37 or 38 minutes, but weren't as effective.
"Tonight we just tried to continue to work on the things we've been working on."
And working they did, going on a 15-0 run late in the half to build a 36-8 halftime lead.
Eight. That is not a misprint.
"To hold them to eight points is incredible," Lacy said.
Arizona State, which finished the game with 16 of 42 shooting, was outrebounded 34 to 22 and turned the ball over 10 times in the first half alone.
Yes, that means that they had more turnovers than points.
Bone credited senior forward Marcus Capers, who flirted with a triple-double by scoring nine points and collecting 10 rebounds and a career-high seven assists.
"Marcus did a great job of finding the open air in his zone, and not only receiving the ball but making good plays," he said. "He was a very good presence on the floor."
Lacy also mentioned the team effort as key to their win.
"I don't think I scored without someone giving me an assist," he said. "I didn't do it by myself."
Motum scored 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 at the line.
Arizona State emerged with renewed vigor in the second half to cut the deficit to 12.
Bone acknowledged that he knew the Sun Devils were not going to play the same way they did in the first half.
"Our guys came out and brought some effort, but not the same level as Arizona State."
Undeterred, the Cougars went on a 7-0 run to get back up by 20.
"I think it was just it's been hard work in practice," Lacy said. "We were there in a couple (recent) games and we could have won all of them. We wanted to come out and show off our hard work, and I think it paid off for us."
Also of note was a four-point play by freshman guard Dexter Kernich-Drew with 9:29 left in the game.