Breaking down Arizona win, Pac-12 Tournament chances — ASU Basketball

Breaking down Arizona win, Pac-12 Tournament chances — ASU Basketball

Breaking down Arizona win, Pac-12 Tournament chances — ASU Basketball

Arizona State faced the weight of a long road losing streak to its biggest rival, the need for a win to strengthen its NCAA Tournament hopes.

In a season chocked full of firsts, Saturday's 72-64 victory might have been the program's most important, as Hurley nabbed his first win in Tucson as coach of the Sun Devils while also securing ASU's first sweep of Arizona in over 11 seasons. The sophomore guard contributed an all-around effort of 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while hitting clutch shots throughout a 17-10 run in the final seven minutes.

The Sun Devils (21-9, 12-6 Pac-12) played without forward Taeshon Cherry, had multiple players in foul trouble and watched guard Rob Edwards fight through a hard shooting game. "It has been an awesome honor to coach in McKale Center for the last 10 years", he said.

Brandon Randolph and Luther each had 12 to lead the 'Cats in scoring, with Jeter being the only other Wildcat in double figures with 11.

Compounding the speculation was Miller opting to not comment on how much it sounded like he was saying goodbye after the game. "You have to roll the dice".

Arizona State won the first meeting with rival Arizona 95-88 in overtime on January 31.

The Sun Devils kept up the defensive pressure despite Dort's absence, holding Arizona without a field goal for almost nine minutes.

Then the cold offensive stretch started as the whistles became more prevalent from the refs, and the Wildcats were outscored 16-10 down the stretch to enter halftime tied 33-33.

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The second half opened with a series of missed shots, ugly turnovers and plenty of screaming at the officials by both coaches.

ASU extended its lead to 52-44 on a Dort dunk, before a a 10-1 run capped off by a Coleman 3 put Arizona up 54-53 with 7:35 to go, the last time the Wildcats would hold a lead. For just the fifth time in the last 30 years, the Wildcats finished the year with 13 losses or more.

After he made those comments, Miller was asked in his post-game press conference whether he has any doubts about his future at Arizona. "We have a lot of talent". "But coach believed in us".

Arizona State solidified its NCAA Tournament resume with a hard-fought win in a hard road environment.

Arizona kept the Sun Devils within reach, but kept hurting itself with turnovers.

Arizona's Justin Coleman (12) goes up for a floater during the Arizona-Arizona State game on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.

Arizona starts the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday.

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