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ASU men's basketball snaps four-game skid with win over Washington

The Sun Devils staved off a late rally to win their first game since Jan. 5

ASU junior guard Shannon Evans II (11) drives towards the basket during a men's basketball game against the University of Washington in Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Arizona on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. ASU won the game 86-75. (Josh Orcutt/State Press)
ASU junior guard Shannon Evans II (11) drives towards the basket during a men's basketball game against the University of Washington in Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Arizona on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. ASU won the game 86-75. (Josh Orcutt/State Press)

In a game headlined by the potential No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, the ASU men's basketball team rallied to a win behind two guards of its own.

The Sun Devils (10-11, 3-5 Pac-12) took care of business Wednesday night, topping Washington 86-75. ASU was led by junior guards Tra Holder and Shannon Evans, who tallied 23 and 25 points respectively.

After a patented slow start for the Sun Devils in which they went the first 4:34 without a field goal, Evans got hot, sparking ASU to a halftime lead with 10 points.

Part of what gave ASU the lead was some of the best defensive effort of the season.

"Our defense was as good as it's probably been all year," head coach Bobby Hurley said. "Especially in league play."

ASU posted Pac-12 season lows in points allowed and field goal percentage against, holding all-world freshman guard Markelle Fultz in check for a majority of the game.

Evans was the primary defender on Fultz and he said he prepared endlessly for the matchup.

A quick spurt saw ASU go up 15 points in the early goings of the second half, and the Sun Devils were poised to turn the game into a blowout.

Hurley said he saw enough of Washington making comebacks on film to not be overly confident with the gap as it was.

"They've been down before in the second half and made big charges in a number of their games," Hurley said. "And they have the talent to do that."

The Huskies jumped back into the game with a 10-0 run in the middle of the second half that cut the Sun Devil lead down to three, forcing Hurley to call timeout and bring the team together.

That's when Holder took matters into his own hands.

Over the final 8:21, the junior guard scored 17 points, hitting his final five shots from the field and making four of his six foul shots.

"(Holder) really took over the game," Hurley said. "Really clutch. Had that great look in his eye and he really delivered."

Holder's efficient explosion helped counteract Fultz's evisceration of the Sun Devils over the final 5:10, when he scored 18 points on 7-9 shooting, but it was too little, too late for the Huskies.

"We had to step up and try to get a win here," Evans said. "Now we have to try to get one Sunday, as well. Try to keep piling these wins together."


Reach the reporter at mtonis@asu.edu or follow @Tonis_The_Tiger on Twitter.

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