A hyped up Arizona State crowd created an eclectic and hostile environment that proved to be too much of a burden for the University of Washington Huskies (19-5, 10-1)who saw their ten-game conference unbeaten streak fall to the hands of a hyped up Arizona State Sun Devils ( (16-7, 7-4 Pac-12) team 75-63 Saturday night in Tempe.
It wasn’t that the Huskies who also saw their 12 -game snapped where fighting the crowd. In all fairness, the Huskies ran into the proverbial Buzzsaw. The Sun Devils two days removed from an embarrassing 91-70 loss to the Washington State Cougars and wherein no mood to give up their statehood status by losing to both Washington State schools. ASU coach Bobby Hurley called out the crowd after the loss to WSU and set the tone for Saturday night clash with the Huskies.
“Hoping that we can play a little better so we can inspire a few more people to show up and watch our team play. I believed it was a dreadful environment. Our players played exactly the way the crowd performed the other night. I also have to create an edge for our players in games like that “Hurley said in his post game interview after the WSU game. While Hurley believes the crowd can make a difference in the end the coaches and players are what determine a win or loss. ” I don’t think I created an edge in a game like that.”
Somewhere between Friday morning and Saturday Night Hurley and his coaching staff found the needed edge to motivate the Sun Devils against the Conference-leading Huskies. It had something to do with playing good defense because the script was flipped on Saturday night. The visiting Huskies came into the game with the best defense on the Pac-12 Conference while the Sun Devils had the top scoring offense. With a hyped up crowd and a National television audience, the Sun Devils were not going to be denied.
The Sun Devils committed themselves to shutting down the visiting Dawgs and that commitment to defense held the Huskies to just 26 first-half points which resulted in a 34 to 26 lead for the home side. The Huskies field goal shooting percentage was 36 % (10-28) for half and 37 % for the game. ASU shot 58% from the field in the first half (14-24) and finished with 62% (29-47 ) for the game.
The Su Devils where able to break down the Huskies zone defense with quick decisive ball movement leaving the Husky defenders one step to late on their defensive close out positions. The Huskies made several runs at the Sun Devils but could not get any closer than eight points at the four-minute in the second half. The Sun Devils came into the game as the Pac-12 leader in rebounding and that trend continued on Saturday as the Sun Devils outrebounded the Huskies 40 to 23.
Romello White scored 17 points, Luguentz Dort 15, Remy Martin 13 and Rob Edwards chipped in 12 as ASU had four players in double digits in scoring. Zylan Cheatham the conference leader in rebounds pulled down nine rebounds and dished out seven assists.