Sun Devils sophomore guard Tra Holder has scored at least 20 points in the past five games. He's averaging 22.8 points during that span.
Scouting report: Arizona State.
Game info: 4 p.m. (PT) Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena (14,000).
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Spero Dedes and Matt Muehlebach).
Radio: KOMO 1000 AM and FM 97.7 (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Bobby Hurley,44, is 11-6 (.647) in his first season with the Sun Devils. He has a 53-26 (.670) record during a three-year coaching career that includes a two-year stay at Buffalo (20-13-15) where he was 42–20 (.677). At Duke, Hurley was an All-American (1993) went to three Final Fours and helped lead the Blue Devils to back-to-back national championships in 1991 and 1992. He won the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award in 1992. Hurley was picked seventh overall in the 1993 NBA draft by Sacramento. He played 4 1/2 seasons with the Kings and spent half of the 1997-98 season with Vancouver.
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Prediction: Picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12 preseason media poll.
Series: Washington leads 41-37 in a series that began Nov. 28, 1977. The Huskies have won eight of the last nine meetings, including four straight at Wells Fargo Arena. Lorenzo Romar is 21-6 against the Sun Devils – his best winning percentage (.777) against Pac-12 teams. Hurley is 0-0 versus UW.
Last meeting: Arizona State upset Washington 78-68 at Alaska Airlines Arena on Feb. 15 last year in the team’s only meeting of the season. Tied at 64 with 4:49 left, the Huskies were outscored 14-4 the rest of the way. Andrew Andrews led UW with 18 points.
Previous game: Arizona State beat Washington State 84-73 on Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena.
Point spread: The Sun Devils are favored by 7.5 points.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Tra Holder, a sophomore guard, has scored at least 20 points in the past five games. He’s the first ASU player to do that since James Harden did it in 2008. Holder is also the first player to post four straight 20-point games to open a Pac-12 season since Cal’s Patrick Christoper in 2008-09. Holder is averaging 22.8 points in the past five games and 19.8 points in the last eight games. He’s a deadly three-point shooter who is 52.2 percent behind the arc in Pac-12 games. Holder also does a nice job of getting to the free throw line. He’s taken at least seven foul shots in five of the last six games.
— Gerry Blakes, a senior guard, is ASU’s second leading scorer who averages 10.7 points. He leads the team with 5.9 rebounds per game. Blakes is considered the Sun Devils’ best defender.
— Willie Atwood, a senior forward, might be ASU’s most improved player. He’s dramatically increased his production on the glass. Last season, Atwood averaged 1.7 rebounds and this season he’s up to 5.6 boards per game. Atwood has also increased his scoring average to 10.5 points from 3.0 last season.
— Arizona State returned four starters from a team that was 18-16 and lost in the second round of the NIT last year. The Sun Devils lost three key players in Shaquielle McKissic, Jonathan Gilling and Bo Barnes.
— Hurley has tried to increase the temp and ASU is averaging 75.7 points per game, which is nearly five more than last season.
— The Sun Devils rely on an eight-man rotation that includes junior forward Savon Goodman, who averages 10.3 points and 6.8 rebounds off the bench.
— Hurley immediately upgraded the nonconference schedule and as a result, Arizona State has an impressive RPI rank of 40. The computers say ASU’s strength of schedule ranks 10th nationally. The Sun Devils knocked off Texas A&M 67-54 on Dec. 5. The Aggies are 11th in the RPI. ASU also beat UC Santa Barbara 70-68 and the Gauchos are 60th in the RPI.