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ASU surges in second half to sweep Arizona for first time since 2008-09

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sean-miller-arizona-wildcats-postgame-interview-san-jose-comments-defense-zone-nnaji-doutrive Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In a season with plenty of lows, this has to be rock bottom.

The Arizona State Sun Devils used a strong second half to complete the sweep of the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday, outlasting their in-state rivals 72-64 in a game that featured eight ties and 15 lead changes.

It is Arizona’s first time losing to ASU in Tucson since 2010, and its first time being swept by the Sun Devils since the 2008-09 season.

Arizona finishes the regular season 17-14 overall and 8-10 in the Pac-12, tying for eighth place with Stanford and USC. Next up is the Pac-12 Tournament, where the Wildcats will be the No. 9 seed and face No. 8 USC in Wednesday’s first round.

ASU outscored the Wildcats 39-31 in the second half after it was tied 33-all at the break.

The Sun Devils appeared to be pulling away midway through the second half after Luguentz Dort dunked to put ASU up eight, but the Wildcats called timeout and strung together a 10-1 run to retake a 54-53 with 7:35, capped by a Justin Coleman corner 3.

But naturally in this seesaw game, ASU scored six unanswered points to recapture a 59-54 lead and Remy Martin made two free throws after Coleman fouled out to make it 61-56 with 5:07 left.

Brandon Williams had already fouled out with 13 minutes left, so the Wildcats did not have the firepower to make another run.

Coleman finished with nine points, five rebounds, and four assists in his final home game, but went 2 for 9 from the field.

Fellow senior Ryan Luther and Brandon Randolph each scored a team-high 12 points, but needed a combined 23 shots to do it.

The Wildcats shot 42 percent as a team and only hung around because they went 19 for 27 from the free-throw line. Arizona had no answer for Martin, who finished with 27 points after scoring a career-high 31 against the Wildcats in Tempe on Jan. 31.

Both teams struggled taking care of the ball in the first half, logging a combined 20 turnovers. ASU shot 50 percent to Arizona’s 39, but the Wildcats went 13 for 15 from the free-throw line to stay in the game.

Arizona was up 25-19 with 8:06 left, but went nine minutes without a field goal, allowing the Sun Devils to rally back for a 29-27 lead.

Dylan Smith finally snapped the Wildcats’ cold streak by stripping Martin and taking it the other way for a layup to put UA ahead 31-29.

But Martin hit a jumper and two free throws to put ASU back ahead, before Jeter made a jump hook off a no-look pass from Williams pull the Wildcats even.

The Sun Devils were without Dort, who finished with 15 points, for most of the first half. The freshman poured in eight early points for the Sun Devils, but his hot start was halted by foul trouble. He was assessed a technical foul for taunting Smith after a made 3, then picked up a personal foul less than a minute later.

Dort returned with seven minutes left in the half only to get whistled for his third foul with 4:33 left after biting on a Williams pump fake.

Williams picked up his third foul with 27 seconds left in the first half after running over Elias Valtonen in the open court, a borderline call.

Williams was handed his fourth foul with 16:55 left in the second half, colliding with Kimani Lawrence after turning the ball over. Williams fouled a few minutes later and ASU outscored the Wildcats 27-23 the rest of the way.