Arizona St. tries to salvage trip finale at Washington St.
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Arizona State continued a disconcerting pattern with a loss at Washington on Thursday.
But the No. 25 Sun Devils can only hope that trend continues in a game against Washington State on Sunday in Pullman, Wash.
Arizona State (16-6, 4-6 Pac-12) scored a season-low 64 points in falling 68-64 to resurgent Washington in Seattle, marking the fifth consecutive week it has lost the first game of a two-game weekend series in a conference that pairs travel partners geographically.
The Sun Devils have recovered to win the second game the previous four times -- road games at Utah and California and at home against Oregon State and Colorado.
While slumping Washington State (9-12, 1-8) would not appear capable of providing much of a roadblock, the Sun Devils have found themselves sliding in the wrong direction since opening the season 12-0 as the last undefeated team in NCAA Division I.
After shooting 50.8 percent from the field in nonconference play, Arizona State has made 42.3 percent in the Pac-12. The Sun Devils shot 44.4 percent against the Huskies but made only 5 of 19 3-point attempts were 11 of 17 from the foul line.
Arizona State overcame deficits of 15 points and 13 (twice) in nonconference victories, but the Sun Devils have found more difficulty against opponents who are more familiar with them.
After trailing Washington by 12 points after a 27-point first half Thursday, Arizona State took a two-point lead on Shannon Evans II's 3-pointer with 5 1/2 minutes remaining but could not hold on. They only led twice in the game.
"You can't play this come-from-behind style, especially on the road," Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley told reporters. "You put so much energy into getting this lead ... games are won and lost at all different parts of the game."
The Sun Devils had trouble containing bruising Washington center Noah Dickerson, who had 21 points and 16 rebounds, but Washington State plays a perimeter-first style that appears more suited to the Sun Devils' personnel.
Freshman forward Romello White had his fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and 14 rebounds against Washington as Arizona State -- led in scoring by Tra Holder (19.0 points per game) and Evans II (16.5) -- looked to work the ball inside.
Washington State has lost four in a row and eight of nine with an offense that is centered along the 3-point line.
The Cougars are fourth in Division I with 11.5 3-pointers per game and are shooting 38.6 percent from distance.
Junior Robert Franks set a school record with 10 3s in Washington State's lone Pac-12 victory, 78-53 over California on Jan. 13.
The Cougars already have set a school season record for 3s after making nine in a 100-72 loss to Arizona on Wednesday. The previous record was 240, and Washington State has at least 10 games left to build on the mark.
"It says a lot about our shooting, but it doesn't really matter if you don't get wins behind it," Franks told reporters after the game against Arizona. "We just brush that aside and try to look forward to getting a win every game."
Franks, a 6-foot-7 junior, has almost tripled his scoring average this season to a team-high 18.0 points per game. He has 53 3s, one of three Cougars with at least 50. Malachi Flynn has 54 and Carter Skaggs has 52, and each has made seven in a game.
Flynn, the only returning starter from 2016-17, did not start against Arizona for undisclosed reasons but is expected back in the lineup Sunday.
"It's still very important that we get wins out of this team," coach Ernie Kent told reporters after the game against Arizona, "that they learn how to handle themselves.
"We tinkered with the lineup. We'll tinker with it again if need be to keep the interest up, to keep the energy where we need to keep it, to keep the focus where we need to keep it."
Updated February 3, 2018