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No. 25 ASU men's basketball gets road split, defeats Washington State 88-78

The Sun Devils shot 70 percent in the second half to avoid the upset

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ASU redshirt freshman forward Romello White (23) controls the ball during the first half of ASU's 80-77 loss to the Utah Utes on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018 at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Arizona

Looking to avoid a second consecutive road loss, No. 25 ASU men's basketball pulled out an 88-78 victory over the Washington State Cougars at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Washington on Sunday afternoon to split yet another weekend series. 

Washington State (9-13, 1-9 Pac-12) came into Sunday’s matchup last in conference standings, and went toe-to-toe with No. 25 ASU before falling apart towards the end. 

ASU forced 18 turnovers in the win, including two momentum-changing steals by senior guard Tra Holder in the last five minutes of the game to fuel a 12-2 run. The Sun Devils (17-6, 5-6 Pac-12) finished with an impressive 34 points off turnovers. 

Holder jumped the passing lane to get the steal, which resulted in a breakaway and-1 layup to give ASU the 82-74 lead at the 4:00 mark. About a minute later, Holder made the exact same play, which resulted in another breakaway layup to give ASU a 10-point lead. 

He finished the game with 20 points on 8-13 shooting. 

Senior guard Shannon Evans II didn’t shy away either, leading the Sun Devils with 23 points. 

ASU went to redshirt freshman forward Romello White consistently, and it paid off as he dominated the paint with 21 points on 10-11 shooting. 

The Cougars were in control of the first half for the most part, fueled by junior forward Robert Franks and junior guard Viont’e Daniels. The duo combined for 26 of the teams 38 first half points and were 10-16 from the field. Daniels handled the scoring from outside, making four out of his seven three-pointers, and Franks had his way in the paint. 

Although they each had 13 points at the end of the first half, ASU limited their offensive production for the remainder of the game. Daniels and Franks only had five points in the second half, and each finished the game with 18 points. 

Sophomore guard Malachi Flynn, however, picked up the slack in the second half, exploding for 19 points to keep the game within distance. Still, it didn't prove to be enough for the home team. He finished the game with a team-high 22 points on 47 percent shooting. 

Up next

ASU heads back to Tempe to start a three-game home stand, beginning with a much-anticipated matchup against USC on Feb. 8. The Trojans are second in the Pac-12 and look to rebound after their loss to UCLA. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @felipecorraljr on Twitter.  

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