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ASU seeking a sweep in Washington as second half of Pac-12 play starts

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley motions to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
LISTEN: Bobby Hurley, ASU Men's Basketball Coach

Bobby Hurley’s Arizona State Sun Devils have accomplished a fair share in the coach’s three years on the job — especially this season.

The Devils went 12-0 in their non-conference schedule, the best start in program history. They’ve been ranked in the AP Top 25 for 10 consecutive weeks, peaking at No. 3 in the country.

One thing they have never done on Hurley’s watch is sweep a Pac-12 weekend, something they hope to accomplish this weekend against Washington and Washington State as the second half of conference play gets underway.

Arizona State is 0-4 this year in the first game of conference weekend play and certainly face the tougher of the two opponent’s in this week’s lid-lifter against Washington, who at 5-3, sits third in the Pac-12 standings.

Hurley is encouraged by what he’s seen recently from his team — mainly a strong second half in a win over Colorado in Tempe last Saturday.

“How the offense came to life, and we hit 10 threes in the second half and continued to defend with effort and energy,” Hurley told Doug & Wolf Tuesday morning on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “I think a stat that we were excellent at for most of the year and kind of got away from was creating turnovers.

“We created 17 turnovers and only turned the ball over seven times ourselves, so we were plus-10 in that category, which was huge and hopefully we can try to sustain that.”

ASU was especially careful with the ball in that second half against the Buffaloes, playing turnover-free basketball over 20 minutes, which led to a 48-34 half — easily their best half in conference play.

Senior guard Shannon Evans II, who was instrumental in the Devils’ second-half outburst against CU with 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting from three-point range, stressed the importance of getting two wins under their belt in the Pacific Northwest.

“Our goal is to win two and we never have, so we kind of still have an edge on our shoulder — we really want to win two. That’s our motive,” he said.

ASU’s last Pac-12 sweep happened in the 2014-15 season under then-coach Herb Sendek when they took care of Stanford and California at Wells Fargo Arena in the final weekend of regular-season conference play.

Their last sweep over the Huskies and Cougars in Washington happened all the way back in February of 2003 when they beat Washington State 87-54 in Pullman and then two days later knocked off Washington, 79-77 in overtime in Seattle. That team was coached by Rob Evans and led by freshman big man Ike Diogu and senior guard Curtis Millage.

Since then, Arizona State is 6-20 in road games against the Washington schools.

ASU faces Washington (15-6) Thursday night at Alaska Airlines Arena. Tip-off is at 9 p.m. with Tim Healey and Kyle Dodd on the call on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. Pregame coverage starts at 8:30.

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