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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Sun Devils suppress ‘Cats

    ASU 64, Arizona 59, OT

    TEMPE – As the sun sank below the horizon alongside Interstate 10 Wednesday evening, a smattering of maroon, gold, light red and blue painted the sky around the bright orange ball.

    It could have been taken as a sign that the men’s basketball game in Wells Fargo Arena about two hours later could have gone either way for Arizona or recently streaky ASU.

    But the maroon and gold shone a little brighter as the Sun Devils (13-2, 3-0 Pacific 10 Conference) beat the Wildcats (10-5, 1-2) in overtime, 64-59, before a sellout crowd of 13,947.

    Arizona fought through foul trouble, went up against a stingy ASU zone defense and played without guard Jerryd Bayless – who is still listed as “”day-to-day”” – for the fourth straight game because of a sprained knee, though he did suit up.

    Each team shot about the same, with the hosts shooting 39.6 percent (21-of-53) from the floor and the Wildcats shooting 38.9 percent (21-of-54).

    “”The game could have gone either way, a shot here, a play there,”” said ASU head coach Herb Sendek. “”…That was a fiercely contested college basketball game.””

    But it was overall intensity that swung the momentum in the Sun Devils’ direction.

    After ASU guard James Harden made a layup with 1:03 left in regulation, tying the game at 55 – concluding a 5-0 run – he raced downcourt and got the defensive rebound, allowing himself to launch a potential game-winning trey after a timeout. But it bounced off the rim, giving the Wildcats another chance.

    Arizona, however, couldn’t convert in overtime, taking a 59-58 lead with 1:45 left and failing to score the rest of the way.

    “”We had our chances,”” said UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill. “”(Forward) Chase (Budinger) had some open shots and (forward) Jordan (Hill) was around the rim all night long.””

    Budinger finished the night shooting 4-for-13 from the floor, scoring 14 points, with nine coming in the first half.

    Hill was 8-for-18, though all of his shots were in the paint, and scored a team-high 18 points to go with a game-high 14 rebounds.

    “”When Jordan and Chase shoot like they do with Jerryd out it really makes it difficult for us to score,”” O’Neill said.

    But Budinger said he wouldn’t blame injuries on the team’s loss.

    “”It’s tough not having your full squad out there but that can’t be any explanation for ‘Oh, we should have done better,’ or anything like that,”” he said. “”I’m not going to make excuses.””

    The Wildcats put a 10-point buffer between themselves and the Devils at the 15:24 mark with a Fendi Onobun layup, but it all went downhill from there.

    Just 13 seconds later, Harden hit a 3-pointer to cut ASU’s deficit to 36-29. The next time Arizona took the ball up the court, Budinger overthrew a pass out of bounds from the right wing that landed in the arms of O’Neill, prompting a timeout from the visibly upset coach.

    From there, the Sun Devils went on a 10-2 run that ate up more than six minutes of the game clock. ASU came within two at the 12:38 mark with a free throw from Harden, one of his game-high 26 points, with 22 in the second half and overtime.

    “”He’s a great player, and we’ve gotta give him props,”” said UA guard Nic Wise, one of four Wildcats to play more than 40 minutes with 41.

    Said O’Neill of Harden: “”The guy’s going to be an NBA player. He’ll probably be a high draft pick this year.””

    The Wildcats got into foul trouble late in the first half and early into the second. Wise sat out the last 4:17 after picking up his third foul.

    Still, Arizona went into halftime leading 28-21, shooting just 36 percent (9-of-25) from the floor. ASU, meanwhile, shot even worse at 33 percent (8-of-24).

    Then Hill was called for two fouls 1:42 into the second half, giving him three at the time.

    Arizona totaled 19 personal fouls in the game, allowing ASU to go 18-for-23 from the charity stripe.

    “”We got in foul trouble,”” said UA guard Jawann McClellan. “”That’s the key to every game – we keep getting in foul troule.””

    Though ASU shot 45.5 percent in the second half, the Wildcats played a suffocating man-to-man defense that kept the Sun Devils scoreless for more than eight minutes in the first half after they scored their first two baskets.

    But in the end, its play down the stretch gave ASU its first win over Arizona since 2002 and just the school’s second in 26 games.

    “”We knew that this was going to be a war and this was going to come down to the wire,”” said ASU forward Jeff Pendergraph. “”We toughed it all out and got it.””

    And 1

    Arizona has now gone to overtime with ASU five times and has lost every time. …

    UA forward Bret Brielmaier played for just four minutes before hurting himself. O’Neill said he thought Brielmaier separated his shoulder again, but added that he was only assuming and that his statement was not a medical diagnosis. …

    Dillon started for the fourth time this season.

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