Sun Devils crumble late, fall to Washington St.
PULLMAN, Wash. — After its home loss to No. 5 Arizona on Thursday, Washington State coach Ernie Kent called out his seniors, and vocalized the team’s need for better leadership.
“It was a reality check to put things into perspective,” said Josh Hawkinson, who set a school record with his 54th double-double in Saturday’s 86-71 victory over Arizona State. “How long we’ve been here, how many more practices we have, how hard we’ve worked just to throw it away doesn’t make any sense.”
Down by as many as 12 points in the first half, the Cougars’ seniors followed through.
Ike Iroegbu finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to help Washington State overcome an early deficit and win.
Conor Clifford had 19 points, Malachi Flynn 14 points and seven assists, and Hawkinson 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Cougars, who nabbed their first season sweep of a conference opponent since 2011-12.
Washington State (12-15, 5-10 Pac-12) shot 62 percent from the field in the second half and held the Sun Devils to 25.7 percent.
“I can’t say enough about how they responded to the challenge I put in front of them,” Kent said. “I thought they responded in a big way.”
Arizona State led by six at half and held the lead for more than eight minutes in the second, until Flynn hit a 3 with seven minutes left in the game to put the Cougars up one. Flynn’s 3 was part of a 14-0 Cougar run that eventually sealed the game.
Shannon Evans II paced Arizona State (13-15, 6-9) with 21 points and Torian Graham scored 18, including four 3s.
“I don’t know if we ran out of steam as the game progressed,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. “We felt great about our first half, how our offense guarded but we couldn’t sustain it in the second half.”
After trailing by six at half, the Cougars scored the first seven points of the second.
“They like to shoot a lot of 3s, they kind of live and die by that,” Hawkinson said.
Washington State took an early five-point lead out of the gate, but Arizona State used a 10-0 run to go up 12 with 3:27 left in the first half. After Andre Adams finished a baseline dunk, Clifford threw away the inbounds pass to Evans who immediately hit a corner 3 to cap the run.
Arizona State turned WSU’s 10 first-half turnovers into 15 points. The Cougars trimmed their turnovers to five in the second.
Saturday was the best shot for a win out of the Sun Devils’ remaining conference games. They return home but still have No. 5 Arizona and No. 6 UCLA on the schedule.
The Sun Devils return home to host No. 6 UCLA on Thursday.
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