Arizona State beats UCLA 88-79 for rare Pac-12 sweepPosted: Updated:
Shannon Evans II scored 23 points, Tra Holder added 22 and Arizona State beat UCLA 88-79 on Saturday night for its first Pac-12 weekend sweep in three seasons under coach Bobby Hurley.
Arizona State (19-6, 7-6 Pac-12) knocked off Southern California to start the week and revved up its big-run game against the Bruins, using an 18-4 first-half spurt to build an eight-point halftime lead. The Sun Devils stretched the margin in the second half and made 25 of 28 free throws to earn that elusive conference sweep.
Kodi Justice added 17 points as Arizona State's senior guard trio accounted for 62 points.
UCLA (17-8, 8-5) started well on the heels of a road victory over No. 13 Arizona, only to see the Sun Devils race past them. The Bruins went through a lengthy stretch without a field goal during Arizona State's big run and fell short with a late rally.
Aaron Holiday had 20 points to lead UCLA.
Arizona State broke its string of losing the opener of the Pac-12's two-game sets this season on Thursday, knocking off Southern California 80-78. The Sun Devils rallied from seven down in the final 2:11, winning it on Holder's banked-in runner with 1.9 seconds left.
UCLA moved further away from the NCAA Tournament bubble and pulled within a game of the Pac-12 lead by knocking off No. 13 Arizona 82-74 on Thursday. The Bruins played a superb all-around game, pulling away from the Wildcats to win in one of college basketball's toughest road venues.
UCLA shot 52 percent against Arizona, making 11 shots from the 3-point arc. The Bruins kept their offensive rhythm going in the desert early against Arizona State, getting good shots inside against the smaller Sun Devils, opening up good looks from the perimeter.
The flow came to a halt midway through the first half after Arizona State tightened up, leading to a nearly eight-minute field goal-less span for the Bruins.
The Sun Devils turned those missed shots into opportunities to get out in transition and they ran away from the Bruins with an 18-4 run to lead 40-32 halftime. Evans, Justice and Holder combined for 31 first-half points.
Arizona State struggled to get shots to fall early in the second, but when those started dropping, the lead started rising, up to 54-41 on Holder's 3 with just under 13 minutes left.
UCLA made a short run to pull within 79-70 in the final two minutes, but the Sun Devils kept making free throws to keep their cushion.
UCLA would rather have swept the Arizona trip, but a desert split isn't bad.
Arizona State's first conference weekend sweep may put the Sun Devils back in the AP Top 25 and certainly will boost its NCAA Tournament hopes.
UCLA hosts Oregon State on Thursday.
Arizona State hosts No. 13 Arizona on Thursday.
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