February 23, 2009 in Sports

Sun Devils blow big lead, recover to beat Arizona

Associated Press
 

TEMPE, Ariz. – Rihards Kuksiks scored 17 points and hit a pair of late 3-pointers as No. 14 Arizona State defeated Arizona 70-68 on Sunday night despite blowing a 17-point second half lead.

Kuksiks connected twice from beyond the arc in the final 2:50, with both shots giving ASU the lead. Jeff Pendergraph had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and he hit the decisive free throws with 25 seconds left for the Sun Devils, who won their fifth straight.

Arizona State (21-5, 10-4 Pac-10) moved within a half-game of first-place Washington, which will host the Sun Devils on Thursday.

Nic Wise scored 17 points for Arizona (18-9, 8-6), which snapped a seven-game win streak.

This was a long-awaited duel between the Pac-10’s two hottest teams, and the game attracted a rare sellout at 13,947-seat Wells Fargo Arena.

The Sun Devils favor a slow-down approach. But this game opened at a frenetic pace, with the teams combining for 10 turnovers in the first 5 minutes.

ASU had nine turnovers at halftime. The Sun Devils average 11.7 per game, second fewest in the Pac-10.

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