Huskies outlast ASU to go to 7-1

SEATTLE - Paced by a career-high 30 points from senior post Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Washington withstood a strong challenge from Arizona State and pulled away late to an 88-75 win over the Sun Devils Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena. The victory improved the Huskies' Pac-10 record to 7-1, at least a game in front of two teams they've already beaten - UCLA and Arizona.

The game was seriously in doubt for the home team until a Scott Suggs three-pointer from in front of the Washington (15-4, 7-1) bench gave the Huskies an eight-point cushion with just over a minute left in the game. Isaiah Thomas sealed the win with a circus layup and-one with 30.2 seconds left, the first and-one attempt for either team in the entire game, despite over 30 fouls were called.

"Never fun to play against Arizona State," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said after the game. "They always make it difficult. I am just excited that we were able to come out with a victory and move on. My good buddy Steve Lavin says, "You just have to move the chains." That's what we did today. (Arizona State Head) Coach (Herb) Sendek just finds a way to do a good job all the time. Just glad we were able to come out with a victory.

Despite the difficulty in putting away the scrappy Sun Devils, the 88 points scored by Washington are the most ever given up by a Sendek-coached ASU team.

"Defensively, we still had a hard time getting the kind of stops you need to win, and very much, like in previous games, when you break it down, points in the paint as they branch off into baskets for Bryan-Amaning, who had 30 and some second chance points," Sendek said. "Those two really continue to give us a real challenge. But night-in, night-out the other front court is putting up very sobering numbers on us."

Arizona State (9-10, 1-6), who lost by 17 Thursday at Washington State, were by the 20 points each of Ty Abbott and Trent Lockett. Abbott did his damage in the first half, scoring 13 points, while Lockett tallied 11 of his points in the second half, mostly by free throw. Reserve forward Rihards Kuksiks chipped in 11 points in the Sun Devils' losing effort.

Besides Bryan-Amaning's career night, Thomas had 19 points and eight assists. Saturday's game was the seventh-straight that the 5-foot-9 guard has dished out more than seven dimes in a game. Suggs added 10 points, and none of the nine UW players used by Romar scored less than four points.

Bryan-Amaning scored the first points for UW and never looked back, accounting for 10 of the Huskies' first 13 points. "I just tried to find space," the senior from London said after the game. "It's hard with their matchup, so I know their interior defense isn't as good; that's why they pressure up a lot. That's why, as long as I was able to carve out some space…coach told the fellas that there was going to be a lot of one-on-one coverage, and I should be able to go at them tonight. So that's what I tried to do."

While Washington was getting their points inside, the Sun Devils used a hot-shooting first half to build a six-point advantage with 4:16 left after a made three-pointer by Kuksiks. Kuksiks - who has been a starter in the past for Sendek - along with Abbott, went 4-5 from beyond the arc to push their lead.

That changed in the second half, when Thomas decided to put his defensive sights on Abbott. The result? One for four from deep the final 20 minutes, with most of his shots contested. So while Thomas nearly had another double-double on the offensive end of the court, his coach was just as happy - if not more so - about what he did to contribute to their defensive presence.

"I don't think we would have won the game tonight if he didn't guard Abbott in the second half," Romar said of Thomas. "Abbott was playing so well and the game was close."

"In the first half—they were getting a lot of open shots that if we played Husky basketball and played the way we usually play, they wouldn't have got," added Thomas.

A layup by Aziz N'Diaye - his only made shot of the night - gave UW a 43-41 lead with 18:46 left, it was a lead they would never relinquish. At the same time, the Huskies couldn't push their margin into double-digits until the final minute of play. A made free throw by Venoy Overton gave UW an 83-73 lead with 49 seconds to play. The Sun Devils even tied the game up at 63 after another made trey by Kuksiks.

"It wasn't easy," said Thomas.  "Coach (Romar) said at the beginning of the game that this was one of the teams he's kind of scared of, because they play so hard, especially when they're hitting shots. They're hard to beat.  We sustained and took the lead late, but it was a tough game.  I'm proud of my teammates that we finished it off."
Statistics:
Points: Bryan-Amaning 30, Thomas 19, Suggs 10,
Rebounds: Bryan-Amaning 9, Thomas 6, Holiday 5, TEAM 5, Ross 2, Gant 2, N'Diaye 1, Suggs 1, Overton 1, Wilcox 1
Assists: Thomas 8, Overton 5, Holiday 3
Blocks: Bryan-Amaning 2, Overton 2, Holiday 1
Steals: Thomas 3, Bryan-Amaning 1, Holiday 1, N'Diaye 1, Suggs 1, Overton 1, Wilcox 1, Ross 1


Dawgman.com Top Stories