SEATTLE (AP) – Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley experienced déjà vu when Washington freshman Markelle Fultz leapt to catch a half-court pass, turned around quickly and took a long shot at the buzzer.
Hurley was Christian Laettner’s Duke teammate when the latter hit the iconic last-second shot against Kentucky to win their 1992 East Regional final. That moment flashed through Hurley’s mind when he followed the path of Fultz’s high-arcing shot.
“I’ve been on the right side of that, way back when,” Hurley said.
He was on Thursday night, too.
Fultz’s half-court heave bounced off the front of the rim and Arizona State held on for an 83-81 victory over Washington.
Torian Graham scored 29 points on 12-of-23 shooting for the Sun Devils (13-14, 6-8 in Pac-12), who won consecutive conference games for the first time all season. Tra Holder added 21 points and Shannon Evans II had 13 for ASU.
Fultz scored 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting for the Huskies (9-17, 2-12). The freshman guard, who entered the evening as the Pac-12’s leading scorer at 23.2 points per game, missed the previous two games with a sore knee. Fellow freshman Carlos Johnson pitched in a career-high 19 points for Washington, which lost its eighth consecutive game.
Arizona State opened the game on a 13-2 run punctuated by a spinning layup by Graham. Washington gradually played its way back into contention, however.
David Crisp tied the score at 39 with a reverse layup and Fultz gave the Huskies their first lead with a long jumper shortly afterward, setting the halftime score at 41-39. Washington outscored the Sun Devils 26-9 over the final 7:32 of the first half.
“I’m really excited by how scrappy and with how much heart our guys played with, to come back and take the lead,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said.
The teams traded 3-pointers and leads during the opening sequence of the second half, neither able to control momentum for long.
Arizona State’s Obinna Oleka broke a 71-71 tie with an uncontested dunk, sparking a 6-0 Sun Devils run.
ASU seemingly had the game wrapped up when Fultz was blocked at the rim with 9.8 seconds remaining, only for a technical foul to be assessed to Holder in the ensuing scramble for the ball. Washington guard Matisse Thybulle made both free throws to cut the deficit to 82-79, but Fultz’s would-be game tying 3-pointer was off the mark.
The Huskies had one final chance after a lane violation was called on Graham’s second free throw with 1.1 seconds left, but Fultz’s half-court shot only iron.
“It was good coaching to get the ball in his hands,” Hurley said. “He’s got some magic about him. We were fortunate that it caromed off.”
Arizona State: The Sun Devils completed a season sweep of Washington for the first time since 2002-03.
Washington: This might have been the Huskies’ last chance to pick up a third conference win. The Huskies host No. 5 Arizona this weekend before closing their season with three consecutive road games.
HE SAID IT
“It had a legitimate chance,” Romar said of Fultz’s last-second shot. “He practices those all the time. Dan Kingma threw a great pass, being the former Little League World Series guy that he is. He can make that pass. And Markelle can go get it. He came close.”
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Arizona State scored 23 points off turnovers to Washington’s nine.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils travel to Washington State on Saturday.
Washington: The Huskies host No. 5 Arizona on Saturday.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.