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WSU falls apart in the final minutes as ASU pulls away for 88-78 victory

It was close, and then it wasn’t.

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State Sun Devils finished the game on a 16-6 run to defeat the Washington State Cougars, 88-78, on Sunday in Pullman.

It was the Cougars’ 13th loss in their past 16 games, and extended their losing streak to five games. They’re now 9-13 overall and 1-9 in the Pac-12 — and, following Cal’s victory over Oregon State, the Cougs are in sole possession of last place.

In a back-and-forth affair, WSU looked like it could be heading for an upset of the 25th-ranked Sun Devils, tying the game at 72 after a trio of Robert Franks free throws — the first two after a technical foul on Romello White.

It was downhill after that. The Cougars’ poor defense continued — ASU shot 70 percent in the second half, including 16-of-19 on two-pointers — but their offense fell apart. In the last five minutes, Malachi Flynn turned the ball over three times and WSU shot just 1-of-5 from the field.

Flynn led the Cougs with 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting, but he had five turnovers against just four assists. Robert Franks and Viont’e Daniels contributed 18 each, while Carter Skaggs chipped in 14 after hitting four threes.

Shannon Evans led all scorers with 23 points powered by five threes, but it was White who truly punished the Cougs: He scored 21 on 10-of-11 shooting as he both abused WSU’s frontcourt down low and took advantage of the Cougs’ defensive breakdowns for multiple dunks.

The Cougs get their next chance to break this streak on Thursday in Corvallis against Oregon State. The Beavers were just beaten by the putrid Golden Bears, so ... maybe?