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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

UW men blow 25-point lead before winning in OT at Arizona State

 (Connor Vanderweyst)
Percy Allen Seattle Times

TEMPE, Ariz. — The first half was all bubbly elation for the Washington men’s basketball team, which did everything right while building a seemingly insurmountable lead.

The second half was utterly devastating.

Everything that could go wrong went wrong as Arizona State secured loose balls, 50-50 rebounds and converted a series of clutch three-pointers in the final minutes to erase a 25-point second-half deficit and force overtime.

In the extra period, the Huskies benefitted from a missed jumper and secured a hard-fought 84-82 victory on Thursday night at Desert Financial Arena.

Keion Brooks Jr. finished with 21 points and eight rebounds while Koren Johnson had 17 points and seven assists. Braxton Meah had 13 points and 14 rebounds and Moses Wood added 10 points for UW, which improved to 15-12 and 7-9 in the Pac-12.

Behind an 8-0 run, UW led 17-7 after seven minutes. The two teams toggled for momentum for the next eight minutes when the Huskies took control with another run that broke the game open.

Sahvir Wheeler canned a short jumper, followed by three-pointers from Brooks and Johnson. Then Paul Mulcahy converted a layup, Meah flushed a couple of dunks and Johnson finished the spellbinding spurt with a pair of free throws.

When they were finished, the Huskies scored 16 unanswered points to finish the first half that turned their 29-24 lead into a 45-24 advantage at the break.

It was the largest halftime lead for UW since 2016.

It was also the second fewest points for a UW opponent this season. Two weeks ago, the Huskies led Oregon State 42-22 at halftime and held on for a 67-55 win.

After UW went up 49-26 early in the second half, ASU coach Bobby Hurley became irate, stormed up and down the sideline and benched all five starters.

The ploy worked as Arizona State regained momentum and slowly cut into its deficit. Washington’s 25-point lead withered to 13 points (51-38) after ASU’s 14-2 run.

Minutes later, UW coach Mike Hopkins drew a technical foul while arguing a non-call after Wood missed a contested layup and the Sun Devils sank a couple of free throws to pull within 56-42.

Frankie Collins’ three-pointer cut Washington’s lead to 61-54 when Mulcahy answered with four straight points.

And Collins buried a layup that tied it at 75-75 to force overtime.