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Arizona State vies for 5-0 Pac-12 start vs. Washington

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It appeared Washington caught a scheduling break when it only had to face Arizona, currently ranked No. 8, one time in Pacific-12 Conference play this season.

That means the Huskies will have only one game this week, when they host Arizona State on Thursday night in Seattle.

But that’s not turning out to be much of a bargain.

The Sun Devils (10-5 overall, 4-0 Pac-12) are off to their best start in conference play since the 2007-08 season and are tied with Oregon for first place.

“Yeah, you gotta be happy with where you are,” Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley said. “I think it shows the guys, if we play the right way, we trust each other, we compete like heck on defense like we’ve been these last few games, then we got a chance to be pretty good.”

ASU is coming off a home sweep of the Mountain schools, defeating visiting Utah 82-70 last Thursday as Jose Perez scored a season-high 26 points, then edging Colorado 76-73 Saturday as Jamiya Neal scored 19 points and Adam Miller added 18.

The Huskies (9-6, 1-3) blew second-half leads of six points or more in each of their first three conference losses before holding on to defeat visiting Oregon State 79-72 Saturday, with Keion Brooks Jr. scoring 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field.

“The team mentality was it’s a must-win game,” said Huskies point guard Sahvir Wheeler, who added 16 points. “It was that plain and simple. Guys played to win. Guys made winning plays. I think our communication was the best that it was all season on both ends.”

There were some tense moments as the Beavers cut Washington’s 11-point lead down to four in the final minute.

“It’s hard to win,” Huskies coach Mike Hopkins said. “I’m so excited that we won because we need a little bit of a spark. We needed to see that. But we didn’t finish the game the way that we need to. There’s still a lot to clean up to be the team that we want to be.”

–Field Level Media

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