This was Pac-12 basketball at its most excruciating, which is to say the Washington Huskies and Arizona State Sun Devils spent most of Wednesday night’s second half trading fouls and free throws at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
For that reason it was an ugly game, an over-officiated contest that lacked rhythm and involved far too little in the way of real basketball.
So, of course, it was sent to overtime on a banked-in 3-pointer by ASU guard Kodi Justice with 13 seconds remaining in regulation.
And, of course, it was ultimately decided in some significant way by a player who had not made a basket through the game’s first 42 minutes.
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But when Andrew Andrews, the Pac-12’s leading scorer, finally made a field goal, he made two on consecutive possessions, a 3-pointer and a short jumper that provided the Huskies, at last, with the necessary separation in what was eventually a 95-83 victory in a ridiculous affair played before a crowd of 6,533.
Don’t forget, though, about Dejounte Murray. The freshman from Seattle scored a career-high 34 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and handed out six assists before fouling out in overtime. He shook off an apparent tweak to his left foot or ankle and scored 21 points in the second half and overtime to help the Huskies erase a 12-point halftime deficit and improve to 15-7 overall and 7-3 in Pac-12 play.
There were 60 total fouls called — 34 against ASU and 26 against UW — including three flagrant fouls in the final seven minutes of regulation that required lengthy video reviews. The teams combined to shoot 75 free throws. Five players fouled out.
The result was a sloppy but close game that UW led by three points after Murray split a pair of free throws with 24.2 seconds left in the second half.
Justice, a sophomore guard, responded with a 3-pointer that he somehow banked in from the wing to tie it.
Andrews missed a shot at the buzzer and the game went to overtime. The Huskies dominated that period. Murray and Marquese Chriss scored the first six points, Andrews and Malik Dime combined for a 7-0 run and it was never close after that.
It feels like eons ago now, but the Huskies were close to awful in the first half. Chriss, the talented freshman forward who finished this game with 19 points and had a monster dunk off an alley-oop lob with 1:18 to play, could only stay on the floor for exactly one minute in the first half because he picked up his first foul early, sat on the bench, then picked up his second foul immediately after checking back in.
The Huskies couldn’t guard anybody, allowing dribble penetration that led to several open 3-point looks, and the Sun Devils made 8 of 14 from beyond the arc — leading scorer Tra Holder made four of those — despite entering the game as the second-worst, 3-point shooting team in the league. In fact, Arizona State played 10 games this season in which it did not make eight 3-pointers, total.
ASU led 19-5 after a 13-0 run, and maintained a 10- to 12-point cushion for most of the first half.
Murray helped the Huskies stick around, slicing to the rim with breathtaking crossover dribble moves that were a reminder of his days as a prep star at Rainier Beach.
The Sun Devils led 44-32 after shooting 60 percent from the field in the first half. Then came the regression. ASU made only 2 of its first 11 field-goal attempts in the second half, and Murray led a charge that this time brought the Huskies all the way back.
They pressed and forced turnovers in the backcourt. Murray got to the rim and made free throws, and his pair with 13:02 to play tied the score at 51-51 after an 11-0 UW run.
The Huskies took their first lead at 60-58 on a pair of Murray free throws with 7:45 to play. Then things got kind of strange.
Dime was called for a flagrant foul. Andrews (who finished with 13 points) and ASU forward Willie Atwood were called for flagrant fouls. On one possession, the shot clock expired far too early without the officials noticing. Lengthy reviews followed each oddity, and the game didn’t end until nearly 11 p.m.
By then, though, the Huskies were celebrating, grateful for victory in a game that seemed it might never end.