C.W.'s note: I wrote this starting at halftime, and continuing throughout the rest of the game tonight. There are no alterations; everything I wrote is what I felt when it was happening.
Live from the Staples Center.... It's House Of Sparky.
I have been hoping for this all season: the renaissance of Ty Abbott. At many times, I just didn't think it was possible: could he really shake off his horrible confidence issues? He had only scored more than ten points once in the last 18 games of the season, putting up 12 points against UCLA on February 12.
That 4-point foul at the end of the first half really hurt, but it doesn't appear to be slowing the Sun Devils down in the second half.
Currently, ASU has a 42-25 lead, led by 15 from James Harden and 12 from Abbott. Jeff Pendergraph has pitched in 10.
I know that we're only supposed to knock the refs when we are losing, but the first half was witness to some of the worst officiating I have seen in a while. I won't delve into the specifics, but I bet you would hear a lot of them if you ventured into the Washington section of the Staples Center.
It might be tempting for ASU to relax their attack and try to rely on their big halftime lead to sustain them through the second half, but they need to focus on their offense game plan.
Jamelle McMillan is in street clothes at the end of the bench, and with Derek Glasser struggling to protect the ball, I personally wish McMillan could come in and take off some slack.
Read the rest after the jump.
Glasser's ball handling skills have always been mediocre, and with the high level of pressure from Washington, he has turned over the ball twice in a matter of minutes. The score is now 44-33, and Herb Sendek wisely called a timeout to slow down the bleeding.
Side note: the Sun Devil Spirit Squad is in fine form tonight.
Harden just was called with an offensive foul, and I must say that it was a very poor call. The flop seems to be back in style in the minds of Pac-10 officials. Either way. ASU is only up eleven, failing to deliver on the promise of the first half.
Jerren Shipp just took a charge against Jon Brockman.
Wow. The little scrape that just occurred on the court was a long time coming. Venoy Overton caused that entire fracas by flopping and pulling James Harden down with him.
It's interesting to see how a coach acts during a tense moment like that. Sendek got in the middle of the players, and Washington's coach Lorenzo Romar grabbed Overton and threw him away from the situation.
Technicals were assessed to Harden, Overton, and Glasser. I didn't see what Glasser did firsthand, but I imagine from the 10-minute dissection of the game tape, it was pretty evident that he was in the wrong.
All in all, that situation has created a very tense environment at a neutral site, something that is very hard to come by. UCLA and USC fans have to pick a team to support with such high stakes involved.
The Huskies have cut the lead to 9 with 12 minutes to play, and I must say this is not looking great in terms of momentum. For some reason, the crowd also appears to be siding with Washington. Maybe it's because we beat UCLA twice this season, but I can't think of any other reason for it.
It might just be me, but I don't want Derek Glasser making his own shot in this situation. Give it to Harden or Pendergraph. I don't trust Abbott right now, because of his lapses shooting layups this half.
I just caught a t-shirt from one of the Spirit Squad girls. It's pretty lousy, actually. Just a Verizon Wireless shirt advertising "Ringback Tones." Why couldn't it have been something cool? That was the first time I have ever caught anything at a game before.
Harden just made both of his free throws, and we are winning 54-48 with 9:45 left.
I'm going to be perfectly honest, this game looks perfectly winnable for Washington, especially only being down 4 with 8 minutes left. Not only that, but they are dominating us.
Brockman just scored, and is shooting a free throw to make it a one-point game. Not a good situation for us Sun Devils.
This type of collapse is exactly what you wouldn't expect from a team ready to play in March. Frankly, we look a little scared. Where is that dominating team from the first half?
Washington is now winning 55-54. The arena just exploded with excitement. It was like a fever breaking; the crowd knew it was coming, and it showed all of its joy when it finally occurred.
ASU has no one rebounding for Pendergraph. Is it a sign of confidence in his free throw shooting? It worked and he made them both. ASU is back up 56-55. This is way too tense considering the halftime score.
Where was the charge? These referees are so frustrating! Kuksiks called for a foul after a litany of physical action that went uncalled on the court.
Deadlocked at 58 with 6:30 left. Glasser has become more confident with the ball and has improved our offense since a few minutes ago.
Isaiah Thomas is tough to stop. He's so smooth with the ball. Has scored 17 points on the night.
Glasser hits a huge three to take the lead back 61-60! This game is incredible, but for all the wrong reasons. As an ASU fan, I can't enjoy too much of this knowing the huge lead we once possessed, but I don't want us to roll over and die either.
Harden misses the second free throw, giving us a two point lead.
Pendergraph takes another shot from the top of the key, and it goes in. What a crazy way to get a four point lead.
Glasser hits a shot clock beating three to give ASU a seven point lead. I have to be honest; this has been a very clutch performance by Glassman in the last 5 minutes of game time.
I retract my previous statement about the team looking unready for March play. Fact of the matter is, we were faced with adversity and we delivered when it counted. Now losing by seven, Washington looks gassed and out of magic.
During this timeout, the jumbotron featured karaoke, but it was random tournament-goers singing the FreeCreditReport.com song. Why do people subject themselves to creating free advertising for a company? It makes no real sense. Capitalism is strong in this building.
Now up nine, the Sun Devils seem to have cracked the seal on the Washington offensive onslaught. What a scare they gave us, however. If it weren't for the immense halftime lead, we would not have any claim to this game at all.
Looking up at the scoreboard, this reminds me: Rihards Kuksiks has been a non-factor this entire tournament. He has scored 0 points tonight.
But what does that matter when you have James Harden? 24 points, and going strong. Washington has no answer for him.
Looked like a very cheap foul by Overton. The guy is playing like a scumbag tonight. The UW players are acting shocked that this foul was called intentional. Accept that it's over, fellas.
73-62 ASU with 59.6 seconds to go. 54.1 now. This is one of those situations where I feel it is imperative to take out Harden and Pendergraph. Not that I think Romar would send out his men to do something cheap, but why risk any injury in a game that is 100% in hand? We have to play tomorrow, after all. If we win the Pac-10 Tournament, we put ourselves in great position for a 3 or 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Sendek has not taken my advice, leaving both stars in the game. It won't be a problem, though. I have faith that there will be no cheap play here.
Glasser has been great tonight, scoring 16 huge points.
Final score, 75-65. The Sun Devils came to play, baby.