ASU Nips Arizona Wildcats in Classic Battle at Super-Loud Home Gym
A few sights, sounds and other memories from last night's thrilling ASU win over Arizona at the Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe:
It was the loudest crowd we've heard at the campus arena since the mid- to late-1970s, when both state schools usually had excellent, evenly matched squads. The din was constant and not -- as had been the case for most of the Lute Olson era -- split about 50-50 between Sun Devils and Wildcat fans.
Oh, and the place actually was sold out, a rarity even as ASU men's basketball has taken a large leap forward in the last two years.
The battle in the paint between big fellas Jeff Pendergraph (the stellar senior for ASU) and UA's Jordan Hill (definitely not the cute country singer depicted to the left, but the 6-10 jumping jack who seems bound for first-round glory in the upcoming NBA draft) was monumental. Big-time banging inside.
The Wildcats showed great heart -- greater than they've displayed in recent years with far-deeper teams -- in coming all the way back from 17 down midway through the second half to take a momentary lead. If Chase Budinger had hit that three-pointer from the top of the key with UA up by one point very late in the contest, well, who knows...
Prediction: Though they escaped this one, the Sun Devils can't reasonably expect to rely almost exclusively on three-point shooting the way they did last night and expect to go far in the NCAA tournament next month.
Best sign of the night implored the Wildcats to go back to Tucson "and take Kerr with you..."
That one, of course, referred to former UA great Steve Kerr, now the beleaguered general manager of the Phoenix Suns -- who had gotten their butts handed to them earlier in the day by the world champion Boston Celtics,
Kerr just might take `em up on it if things on his front continue to go south.
Next on tap for the highly ranked Devils is a huge game up in Seattle on Thursday night against the University of Washington, with whom they are tied for first place in the extremely competitive Pac-10.