TEMPE, ARIZ. - The Washington Huskies never really seemed in the game Friday night at Arizona State. And they seemed to fall fully out of it early in the second half, when a quick flurry pushed the Sun Devils ahead by 15 points.
That is a significant lead in most games, but with the kind of offensive futility the Huskies were enduring at Wells Fargo Arena, it seemed virtually insurmountable.
And it was, as the Sun Devils (11-5 overall, 1-2 Pacific-10 Conference) went on to a 68-51 victory.
Washington’s previous scoring low this season was 63 in their win over Montana. But the Huskies couldn’t get close to that output Friday as they shot only 36 percent from the field.
The Huskies never found a way to consistently penetrate the Arizona State zone, nor could they find a hand hot enough to consistently shoot over it.
On the other side of the court, Rihards Kuksiks sizzled the whole night on his way to a game-high 27 points. Isaiah Thomas led UW with 20, but Quincy Pondexter was held to nine.
Arizona State led 28-19 at halftime. Pondexter scored the first basket of the second half to make it 28-21, but ASU went on a 10-2 run, and the Huskies never threatened after that.
The result gave UW back-to-back losses for the first time this season. The Huskies are 1-2 in the Pac-10 and are 0-3 when playing away from home.
Another road game awaits them Sunday as they visit the Arizona Wildcats. That gives the Huskies one practice – this afternoon at Arizona’s McKale Center – to come up with some solutions for their growing list of problems.
Coach Lorenzo Romar tried one change Friday, moving Tyreese Breshers into the starting lineup in place of Matthew Bryan-Amaning. However, that proved to be a minor tweak because Bryan-Amaning entered the game after less than four minutes.
The Huskies (10-4, 1-2) also played one man down because junior Justin Holiday didn’t travel because of what Romar said was a minor eligibility issue having nothing to due with academics.
Romar sounded certain that Holiday will be available next week when UW plays host to the Bay Area schools, starting with Stanford at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.