TEMPE, Ariz. (AP)—There was no doubt Washington coach Lorenzo Romar didn’t like the way his team was playing early against No. 24 Arizona State on Thursday night.
The clipboard he heaved across the court during a timeout made that clear. After that little display of displeasure, the Huskies settled down to play the tough, rough style Romar likes, and they handed the Sun Devils their first home loss of the season, 72-61.
“He got his point across,” said Jon Brockman, who led Washington with 21 points and 16 rebounds.
The Huskies beat the Sun Devils for the 11th consecutive time, the longest such streak in the Pac-10. The young Arizona State team was rattled by Washington’s trademark “in-your-face” defense.
“Any time you can’t catch the ball or run what you want to run it’s frustrating,” Arizona State’s Jeff Pendergraph said. “Playing against them is very frustrating.”
Arizona State (14-4, 4-2) shot under 30 percent most of the game and wound up at 32 percent (17-for-53), including 5-for-24 from 3-point range.
Freshman standout James Harden, playing despite a strained right groin, scored 17 points for Arizona State but had only four in the second half. He twice missed the front end of a 1-and-1 down the stretch, once with his team down 53-47 and again when the Sun Devils trailed 57-50.
After the second miss, Ryan Appleby made a 3-pointer to give the Huskies (12-7, 3-3) a 60-50 lead with 3:41 to play. It was one of only two 3s for the Washington sharpshooter.
“We were able to win in spite of Ryan Appleby going 2-for-10,” Romar said. “That’s a big plus for this team because Ryan isn’t always going to have great nights.”
Washington shot 39 percent (22-for-57) but was 9-of-22 on 3s.
Quincy Pondexter added 12 points and Tim Morris had 11 in the Huskies’ third straight victory. But the real damage was done inside by the 6-foot-7, 255-pound Brockman.
“If he was 5-11 and weighed 150 pounds, I still think he’d be how he is,” Pendergraph said. “It’s just the mentality that he has. That’s what he does and that’s what he’s really good at.”
Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said that “in terms of productivity in college basketball, he’s got to be right up there with anybody.”
Jamelle McMillan, another Arizona State freshman, scored 11 points.
On Saturday, the Sun Devils, 11-1 at home, host No. 6 Washington State, a 76-64 loser at Arizona on Thursday night.
Washington led 32-30 at halftime after Arizona State took an early nine-point lead.
The Huskies shot 34 percent from the field in the half but were 6-of-13 on 3-pointers.
The Sun Devils were even worse from the field in the first 20 minutes, shooting 30 percent (8-for-27) including 1-of-10 on 3s. Arizona State didn’t have a field goal over the last 8:13 of the first half but stayed in it by going 8-for-8 from the foul line.
Harden scored 13 points in the first half on 4-of-9 shooting but was just 1-for-3 in the second half. He had not practiced with the team all week after injuring his right groin in last Saturday’s loss at Stanford.
“When you have an injury like that,” Romar said, “you’re fine when the adrenalin is flowing. The more you play on it, the more fatigue sets in, the more you start to feel it. Maybe that was the case.”
Arizona State took a 24-15 lead with an 11-2 run capped by Ty Abbott’s two free throws with 7:43 left, but Joel Smith hit two 3-pointers to ignite a 12-0 surge that put Washington up 27-24 with 3:19 to go.
The Sun Devils regained the lead at 30-28 when Eric Boateng made two free throws, then Morris’ 3 with 1:10 to go gave the Huskies their two-point halftime lead.
Washington built the lead to 48-40 on Pondexter’s three-point play with 11:44 remaining. Arizona State cut the lead to three points three times, but after Harden missed the first 1-and-1, Brockman’s three-point play put the Huskies ahead 56-47 with 7 minutes left.