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Arizona State drops 3rd straight to Washington, Martin cold in loss

Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley talks to the team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington on Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Coming off back-to-back losses to UCLA and USC, the Sun Devils had a fire under them to finish conference play strong and vie for the Pac-12 regular-season title heading into Thursday’s game.

The Sun Devils handled their business well in the first half against the Washington Huskies on Thursday in Tempe, but in the second half, the Sun Devils defensively went cold, going on to lose their third straight game 90-83.

“It was a tough game,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said. “They shot well. Our defense hasn’t been what it was prior to us going to the LAs.”

Coming into Thursday’s game, Washington ranked seventh in the nation for field goal defense, holding opponents to an average of 38.1% from the field. They held ASU at 41% from the field.

In the first half, the Sun Devils looked like they were firing on all cylinders, specifically guard Rob Edwards, who posted 11 points in the first half and finished with 23 points.

Off the bench, guard Alonzo Verge also posted 11 points and forward Taeshon Cherry contributed nine of his own to give the Sun Devils a 45-41 lead heading into halftime.

Typically, guard Remy Martin is one of the go-to players to put the team on his back, but it just wasn’t his night.

“It just wasn’t my night,” Martin said. “I don’t think I have too many nights like this but when it does, it kind of stings just because I put so much work into it. I just think I need to do a better job of making plays.”

In 36 minutes, Martin posted six points, going 2-of-14 from the field and 1-of-10 from the three.

“Remy had this game, but we would never be in a position to have the season that we’ve had without Remy,” Hurley said.

Washington’s defense prevented Martin and the Sun Devils from finding clean looks from the three. The team overall shot just 11-of-31 from beyond the arc.

While the Sun Devils were finding their stride at the half, things went south for ASU around the 15-minute mark of the second half. ASU found themselves up 61-49 after a Verge hit a 3-pointer.

Washington turned around to go on 20-4 run to not only cut the lead but took their first lead of the game with 8:20 to go in the half.

The Huskies were powered by guard Nahziah Carter who posted 23 points. Forwards Jayden McDaniels and Isaiah Stewart contributed 16 and 14 points, respectively.

“We stopped running back on defense if there was something that happened on offense that wasn’t good—a missed shot or something,” Hurley said. “Carter was streaking down the sidelines, Stewart got one. We were not running back hard.”

Hurley said coming off the weekend’s losses to the southern California schools, he was “more positive after the losses,” but that wasn’t the case losing to a Washington team that hadn’t won a Pac-12 road game all season.

“There’s no more time for moral victories and we have to fix our defense. I was more positive after the LA run where I thought we really competed well and just came up well. At home, you have to win these types of games this time of year. You can’t afford to lose these kinds of games.”

For ASU, they dropped to fourth in the conference with Thursday’s loss. With one game left until the Pac-12 tournament, Hurley said they’re focused on getting to 11 conference wins and turning their attention to the tournament.

“We’ve won a lot of games in our streak, and even some of the games we lost, we defended very well,” Hurley said. “We just haven’t been able to get those field goal percentage numbers where they need to be.”

Arizona State wraps up its regular-season schedule on Saturday at Desert Financial Arena against Washington State at 4:30 p.m.

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