Arizona basketball gives Arizona State ‘Forks Down’ in dominant Territorial Cup win

Feb 17, 2024, 9:20 PM | Updated: 10:25 pm

Caleb Love...

Caleb Love #2 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts to a three-point shot against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first half of the NCAAB game at McKale Center on February 17, 2024 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

No. 5 Arizona basketball’s Caleb Love nailed a transition 3 and ingratiated himself into the Territorial Cup rivalry with a “Forks Down” celebration at the Arizona State bench and to the crowd Saturday at a packed McKale Center.

The triple gave Arizona a 56-35 lead in the second half of a game the Sun Devils had few answers on either side of the ball. ASU hung with Arizona over the opening 10 minutes, but from there it was all Wildcats in a 105-60 blowout, the largest margin of victory in the rivalry’s history.

Keshad Johnson joined Love with the gesture as timeout was called, reminiscent of “Horns Down” celebrations against Texas earlier this season, and ASU head coach Bobby Hurley was not happy.

The Arizona (20-5, 11-3 Pac-12) lead climbed to 30 with eight minutes remaining, and the forks downs returned as the score ran up. Arizona won the second half 56-29.

Both teams came out hot, with Arizona center Oumar Ballo slamming down the game’s first points seven seconds in.

ASU (13-13, 7-8) lead 9-4 out the gate, but after the back-and-forth 10 minutes, the Wildcats outscored the Sun Devils 25-8 to extend a 24-23 lead to 49-31 by halftime. Arizona shot 67.7% from the field over 20 minutes.

Love had 12 at the break including a soaring dunk through the lane, and Ballo nearly picked up a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds. He’d get his double-double in the second half.

Love finished with 15 points, and Ballo scored 15 with 11 rebounds. Jaden Bradley scored a career-high 21 points on 11 shots.

Foul troubled impacted the Sun Devils, as Frankie Collins was a team-best minus-2 but only played 11 minutes in the first half. Bigs Shawn Phillips Jr. and Alonzo Gaffney both fouled out. Adam Miller led ASU with 16 points.

Arizona shot 57% from the floor and had a 52-16 advantage in the paint to give Tommy Lloyd his 81st win, most in major-conference history by a coach in his first three seasons at a school.

The Wildcats have been on a roll lately, winning five straight while proving to be deserving of a No. 1 seed — at least in mid-February. The NCAA selection committee revealed its potential top 16 seeds on Saturday and Arizona was on the No. 1 line with Purdue, reigning national champion UConn and Houston.

The two sides will meet again soon, with a matchup at Desert Financial Arena on Feb. 28.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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