No. 14 Washington 90, Arizona State 82
SEATTLE (AP)—So much for Tre Simmons’ shooting slump.
The Washington senior tied a career-high with 29 points and made 6-of-7 3-pointers, and No. 14 Washington held off pesky Arizona State 90-82 Thursday night.
Simmons, Washington’s leading scorer at 16.1 points per game, had struggled shooting recently, including a 1-for-11 performance two weeks ago at Oregon.
He had 16 in a win last weekend at Washington State and broke out in a big way against the Sun Devils, shooting 9-for-19.
“I just came out aggressive,” Simmons said. “I’m a shooter, that’s what I do.”
Nate Robinson added 21 points for Washington, including eight in the final 5:20. He punctuated the night on a dunk with 3 seconds left, as the Huskies survived the Sun Devils’ challenge.
“I don’t know who we were out there, but they were like Joe Frazier,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “They just kept coming at us and they played at a very high level.”
Arizona State’s Ike Diogu, leading the Pac-10 in scoring and rebounding, had a game-high 31 points and 15 rebounds. He was 17-for-18 from the foul line and had 24 points in the second half.
“Ike is a grown man playing a college basketball game,” Robinson said. “He’s like a train going downhill.”
Washington (22-4, 12-3 Pac-10) won its 21st straight home game and stayed 1 1/2 games behind Arizona in the Pac-10. The Huskies host the Wildcats on Saturday.
Simmons left the court hobbling after diving for a loose ball in the first minute of the second half. Simmons said he fell on his right hip which he had bruised in practice last week.
Less than 2 minutes later, Simmons returned and ignited a 14-5 run, scoring 12 of Washington’s points during a 4-minute span. The run gave the Huskies a 58-48 lead, its first double-digit lead of the game.
“You just got to find the shooter. Tre was hot and we just kept feeding him,” Robinson said. “You’ve got to milk them as long as you can.”
But Washington could not shake the Sun Devils, who stayed in the game thanks to a 29-for-32 performance at the free throw line. The teams combined for 44 fouls.
Arizona State scored 10 of its next 19 points at the foul stripe and cut the lead to 69-67. Washington pushed the lead back to eight, but eight points from Diogu kept the Sun Devils close, trailing 83-80 with 1:20 left.
Robinson scored on a runner with 45 seconds left. On Arizona State’s next possession, Tyrone Jackson was called for a charge, and Washington made 3-of-4 free throws in the final 26.5 seconds.
“We haven’t played a game against Arizona State in three years that wasn’t physical like that,” Romar said. “It’s the nature of our games. We both play an aggressive, attacking style.”
Will Conroy added 13 points and Bobby Jones had 12 for Washington. Kevin Kruger had 17 for Arizona State (18-10, 7-9 Pac-10), which lost its fourth straight to the Huskies.
“We played really well. We did everything but win the basketball game,” Arizona State coach Rob Evans said. “Key stops at critical times didn’t allow us to win the game.”
Washington can complete its first undefeated home campaign since 1984 with a win Saturday. Washington’s last home loss was Jan. 10, 2004, an 86-84 overtime loss to UCLA.
With wins in their final three games, the Huskies will clinch at least a share of the conference regular season title. Washington hasn’t claimed a share of the Pac-10 regular season title since 1985 and have not won a conference title outright since winning the Pacific Coast Conference in 1953.
“We’re ready and looking forward to having some fun,” Robinson said.
Washington was hoping to get some help from their cross-state rivals Thursday night, but Arizona held off Washington State 57-56 in overtime.
Washington led 44-41 at halftime on the strength of 54 percent shooting and making 7-of-10 3-point attempts. But for only the second time against Pac-10 foes, Washington never led by double-digits in the first half.
The Huskies led by as many as seven early, but Diogu’s thunderous rebound dunk with 5:35 left gave Arizona State a 31-26 lead, capping a 17-6 run. Robinson scored the next 11 Washington points and the Huskies never again trailed.