Men's basketball stuns rival Arizona with 87-80 win
Arizona State (10-20, 6-12) dropped the University of Arizona Wildcats (21-10, 12-6) 87-80 in the State Farm Territorial Cup Series, March 4, at Wells Fargo Arena.
Not until the final seconds did either team lead by more than six points and one of college sports greatest rivalries saw one of its most epic showdowns in the schools long histories. In the end, the Sun Devils had just enough to take down their bitter rival.
Carrick Felix, Trent Lockett and Jonathan Gilling all put up 21 points apiece, Gilling posting a career high. Jordan Bachynski scored 11 and his presence in the paint was crucial in opening up the offense. Chris Colvin also was big for ASU scoring seven and dishing out nine assists, matching his career high.
The atmosphere was electric in Wells Fargo Arena as Arizona State beat their rival and, in a game that saw 22 lead changes, grabbed a spectacular tenth win of the season. The win put a positive finish on a tough season for the Sun Devils.
An exhilarating first half saw both teams go shot for shot and exchange the lead 13 times. ASU did well in the paint on offense scoring 20 points from in the paint and their solid defense forced the Wildcats to take shots from behind the arc. Without the last minute and a half, where U of A grabbed the lead with a few three pointers, the Sun Devils would have maintained a small lead but the Wildcats led 44-38 at the half.
The Sun Devils came out of the locker room with a spark quickly making up their six point deficit and once again the game went back and forth. There were five lead changes before the 11 minute mark where ASU led by three. From there tensions rose even higher and with solid team play and determination ASU was able to place themselves in a position to win the game. With around five minutes to play, the Sun Devils grabbed the lead and would maintain it until the end as they held on for the win. The foul shots made by Lockett and Felix in the final seconds sealed the deal.
Through the passion of the rivalry or a team finally coming together the Sun Devils showed a different side that their fans had not seen this season. Solid defense complimented a great presence in the paint from Bachynski and others that secured rebounds and put up points. For once the Sun Devils forced turnovers, not gave them away, and smart decisions on offense were rewarded with points and bonus foul shots.
Arizona State shot 55.8 percent (29 of 52) from the field, 58.3 percent (7 of 12) from three. For only the second time this season the Sun Devils had fewer turnovers than their opponent. They also forced fouls and capitalized from the free throw line shooting 91.7 percent (22 of 24). ASU was good in the paint as they put down 44 points from inside.
The Wildcats shot 48.1 percent (25 of 52) from the field and 47.6 percent (10 of 21) from behind the arc. Kyle Fogg led U of A with 23 points while Brandon Lavender put up 18 and Soloman Hill added 16.
Over the end portion of this season ASU has shown flashes of what they could possibly be in the coming years, despite the obvious struggles of this year. The victory this afternoon showed they could potentially play with the best of the Pac-12, not to mention sending the Wildcats back to Tuscan with a loss.
Arizona State takes on Stanford in the first round of Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament, March 8, in Los Angeles