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Feb 22, 2024 12:32 am

Washington, Arizona State out to rebound from tough losses

Keion Brooks Jr.

Washington and Arizona State find themselves in similar circumstances heading into Thursday night’s Pacific-12 Conference game in Tempe, Ariz.

The Huskies (14-12, 6-9 Pac-12) and Sun Devils (13-13, 7-8) are both coming off disappointing losses — though in much different ways — and trying to capture at least the No. 8 seed for the conference tournament to get a first-round bye.

And after last weekend, both Huskies coach Mike Hopkins and his counterpart, the Sun Devils’ Bobby Hurley, are facing questions about their futures with their respective programs.

“We got (five) games left and an opportunity to make a push,” said Huskies forward Keion Brooks Jr., who leads the conference in scoring with 21.2 points per game.

Washington had a two-game winning streak snapped with an 82-80 loss at home Saturday to California, as Jalen Celestine, the conference’s leading 3-point shooter, made a pair of treys in the final 1:40, including the go-ahead basket with five seconds left.

“Dudes are getting open looks,” Brooks said. “They’re feeling a little too comfortable. Our communication is jacked up at times.”

That left the Huskies 4-8 in games decided by five points or fewer and in 10th place in the Pac-12. They are just a game out of sixth, however, as four teams, including Arizona State, are tied for that spot.

While the Huskies were suffering a heartbreaking defeat Saturday, the Sun Devils were humiliated 105-60 at then-No. 5 Arizona. Frankie Collins, ASU’s leader with 13.5 points and 3.3 assists per game, was limited to eight points on 3-of-11 shooting and just one assist.

“(Arizona has) been very explosive throughout the year and this is an outcome I thought could be a reality for us just based on watching film watching them a lot,” Hurley said. “I’m not disappointed personally. I feel bad that it’s a demoralizing loss. I understand what the rivalry means to Arizona State but we had no answers for what they were doing.”

The Huskies and Sun Devils met Jan. 11 in Seattle, with the hosts coming away with an 82-67 victory as Sahvir Wheeler had 24 points and eight assists.

–Field Level Media

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