Less than 48 hours after Arizona State ran them out of the gym in a 33-point drubbing, the Huskies were tied with the Sun Devils in the final minute on Thursday night at Desert Financial Arena.
However, the Washington men’s basketball team didn’t make another shot and was outscored 8-0 down the stretch for an 80-72 defeat.
“It’s been that a lot of the year, the consistency,” coach Mike Hopkins said. “The great thing that I’m really proud of the guys is after a lot of games that we struggled, we bounced back. It’s a mindset.
“I thought the guys had a really good mindset today. They have a lot of pride. Obviously, we didn’t play great in the first outing and Arizona State played really well. Having a chance to play them again was a blessing. We came out and we battled. We’re still not happy that we lost, but we put ourselves in better position to have a chance to win.”
The Huskies rallied from a seven-point deficit early in the second half and went ahead 59-56 with 10:07 left.
The lead changed hands five times and the score was tied three times the rest of the way.
UW reserve guard Cole Bajema, who made all four of his field goal attempts including three three-pointers for 11 points off the bench, drained a shot behind the arc that knotted the score at 72-72 at the 2:02 mark.
After the Sun Devils went up 74-72 with 58 seconds left, Hopkins drew a play up during a timeout for 6-foot-6 guard Jamal Bey, who had success inside against ASU’s smaller guards.
Bey passed out of the post to Marcus Tsohonis, who fired up a potential go-ahead three-pointer on the wing that sailed short and bounced off the rim.
“It looked like he got a good look,” Hopkins said. “Percentage wise, he’s our second-best three-point shooter. Sometimes they just don’t go in.”
Quade Green added: “He felt like he could make it so he shot it. He shot it and nobody can’t say nothing about it. That’s a high-percentage shot for him. He’s over 40% from three so if he would have made it, everybody would have praised him. Got to take the makes with the misses.”
Arizona State closed the game connecting on 6 of 6 free throws before a layup in the final seconds. Washington missed its final seven field goal attempts.
“We didn’t make the plays down the stretch,” Hopkins said. “We (made) the plays to get close. … We just didn’t make the plays that you need to make to win on the road against a good team like Arizona State.”
It was an uneven performance for the Huskies (5-19, 4-15 Pac-12), who played their seventh game in 15 days.
Washington converted 11 of 27 three-pointers — one shy of tying its season high for made three-pointers — and had its highest scoring output in the past seven games.
Led by Green (16 points, seven assists and five turnovers), UW finished with four players in double-digits scoring for just the fifth time this season.
Bey tallied 14 points and six rebounds while Erik Stevenson added in 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
On most nights, a productive collective effort results in a rare win for Washington.
However, UW’s quartet was overshadowed by ASU’s dynamic duo of Remy Martin, who scored 31 points, and Kimani Lawrence, who finished with 21 points and 20 rebounds.
“He’s really fast,” Hopkins said when asked about Martin. “He’s really strong. He’s really confident. And he knows how to sell the game. He’s like (Zinedine Zidane), one of the great soccer players. He goes to the foul line a lot. He’s hard to guard. He’s disruptive on the offensive end. He got hot early.”
After scoring 26 points Tuesday, Martin picked up where he left off and connected on 12 of 21 shots, including four three-pointers.
The 6-foot guard entered the game averaging 25 points in the previous eight games and Washington had no one who could slow him down.
“He’s a special player,” Hopkins said. “There’s a reason why he was a preseason All-American.”
At the start, Martin scored 13 points to lead ASU to a 19-12 lead with 11:57 left in the first half. Following a UW timeout, the Huskies doubled teamed and trapped him whenever he touched the ball on the wings.
The defensive ploy jump started a 17-4 run for the Huskies, which included six straight points, capped by Green’s three-pointer for a 29-25 lead with 4:28 remaining.
Martin eventually got going once again and drained a pair of deep three-pointers, but the Huskies went into halftime tied 35-35.
It was a dramatic turn of events for Washington, which trailed Arizona State by 20 at the break two days earlier.
Still, Martin torched the Huskies with 12 second-half points and his final basket — a deep three-pointer — erased UW’s 70-69 lead and put Arizona State up one with 3:02 left.
“He’s a good player,” Green said. “He hit some big shots for them. We trapped him and got it out of his hands. That’s why we were in the game so long. We kept getting it out of his hands. And he just found a way to shoot a three. That’s what killed us today. We were trying to make him shoot twos, but on the fast breaks we kept giving him transition threes.”
Alonzo Verge Jr. chipped in 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds for ASU (9-11, 6-8), which trounced UW 97-64 on Tuesday.
“We just fought tonight,” Green said. “That’s pretty much it. We just fought. Keep fighting, keep fighting, keep fighting.”
Washington, which has lost three of its past four games, wraps up the regular season against Arizona at 11 a.m. Saturday at McKale Center.
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