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Arizona State carrying momentum into final three Pac-12 games

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley argues with referees in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Coming off his second homestand sweep in Pac-12 play this season, Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley had plenty to be proud of.

“I think we are showing flashes of the brilliant team that we can be,” Hurley said to the Doug & Wolf show on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station Tuesday.

The Sun Devils are riding a three-game win streak starting with a win over Utah on Feb. 16, followed by a home sweep of the northern California schools, Stanford and Cal.

ASU has won with both offense and defense scoring 98 points against the Utes and holding Stanford and Cal to under 40-percent shooting last week.

“I thought our defense showed up and at this point in the year you have to be able to rely on that, especially as you get to the postseason,” Hurley said.

Earning revenge on Utah and Stanford from earlier defeats, coupled with a tough non-conference schedule featuring wins over then No. 1 Kansas, Mississippi State and Utah State (who have all had 20-win seasons), Hurley believes the team is good enough to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

“I think we have a strong NCAA Tournament profile and, you know, we just have to focus on playing basketball now and continue to try and win games,” Hurley said.

ASU has already beaten the remaining three teams on its schedule but ending the season on a six-game win streak — if the Sun Devils can beat Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona once more — would do wonders for their tournament credibility.

“I always have to motivate, that’s my job, but in these games it’s not going to be as difficult because these teams will have our players’ attention,” Hurley said.

In a lackluster Pac-12, trailing Cal (5-22) at halftime put a slight scare into the team, according to Hurley.

“We were very direct in the locker room about what was going on in the first half especially on offense and what was at stake,” Hurley said. “It was one of those games you can’t afford to lose.”

If the Sun Devils can build off their momentum from last week, a win at Oregon would make the second longest win streak of the season.

It would be ASU’s longest streak since starting the season 7-0.

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