The Arizona State Sun Devils build a 17-point first-half lead over the the Washington State Cougars, and that would prove to be too much for the Cougs to overcome as ASU triumphed 84-73 on Thursday night. Sun Devil point guard Tra Holder led all scorers with 20 points on 5-12 shooting. Ike Iroegbu led WSU with 18 points on 7-11.
It looked like WSU might make a game of it early in the second half, as the Cougs scored the first 10 points and cut ASU's lead to five. That didn't last long, as the Sun Devils would soon go on an 8-0 run of their own and they wouldn't be tested again.
Arizona State shot just 33 percent in the second half, but knocked down 6 of 16 from three, and seemed to always have a deep ball to answer any Coug run.
Overall, it was a mostly unexciting game, as the teams were separated by multiple possessions for the entire second half. One interesting development is the heavy minutes for true freshman Robert Franks in the second half. Junior Longrus struggled early, and Franks played most of the final 20 minutes. He finished with 11 points and two rebounds and it was at least entertaining watching him baffle the commentators whenever he would hoist a 3-pointer.
The game wasn't a total defeat for the Cougs, they did conquer ASU's "Curtain of Distraction" in the second half, going 10-13 on free throws, an improvement over their 7-10 first-half effort. I guess it's time for Arizona State students to give up on that endeavor.
Josh Hawkinson notched another double-double, his 11th-straight, with 15 points and 10 boards.
The loss drops WSU to 1-3 in conference play, and things aren't going to get an easier as the Cougs head to Tuscon to take on Arizona on Saturday.