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Sun Devils Suffer Disappointing Loss in Utah

The Arizona State basketball team needed a win on Wednesday night, but the Utah Utes used a quick start and a late rally to down the Sun Devils in Salt Lake City.

Coach Herb Sendek knows the ramifications of the Sun Devils' loss.
Coach Herb Sendek knows the ramifications of the Sun Devils' loss.

From hopes and dreams, to desolation and disappointment.

The Arizona State basketball team saw its fortunes change in a matter of seconds on Wednesday night as a late-game surge from the Utah Utes helped them surge past the Sun Devils for a 60-55 win.

The Sun Devils have struggled on the road this season, and the first half of Wednesday's contest was no different.

Utah jumped out of the gates to a 16-7 start behind the strength of solid play from center Jason Washburn. The 6-foot-10 senior dominated Arizona State in the previous matchup this season, and he scored eight of his team's first 12 points on Wednesday.

Arizona State stormed back to cut the deficit to just three points when Ruslan Pateev tipped in a basket with less than three minutes to play in the first half.

However, two Washburn baskets helped the Utes extend their lead and pull away for a 29-22 lead at halftime.

The Sun Devils have seen their toughness tested throughout this season, and they turned to captain Carrick Felix to keep them in contention for an NCAA Tournament berth.

The senior wing scored seven straight points in a matter of 80 seconds to give the Sun Devils their first lead since the opening minutes with 11:05 remaining.

If not for the determination of Felix and reserve guard Chris Colvin (10 points), the Utes could have run away with their contest with the Sun Devils.

Despite the Sun Devils' second half surge, the Utes never let Arizona State pull away.

The maroon and gold held a 49-41 advantage late in the second half, but Utah stormed back behind the momentum created from a Jordan Loveridge 3-pointer.

As Utah came storming back, the Sun Devils relied on the play of point guard Jahii Carson to help them maintain a narrow lead.

Carson scored four points in the final five minutes to give his team a six-point cushion, but the Utes made every shot down the stretch.

With his team trailing by six, Jason Washburn scored four of his 26 points down the stretch to help the Utes regain a lead.

Including eight free throws, the Utes hit their final 12 shots to overcome the deficit and secure the upset win.

Jarrod DuBois, Brandon Taylor, Loveridge and Washburn distributed the ball and varied their scoring to lead Utah to just its third conference victory.

As for the Arizona State, their seventh loss of the season raises serious questions about their NCAA Tournament hopes.

On Wednesday, the Sun Devils woke up with thoughts of March Madness, but they'll go to bed with nightmares of their trip to Salt Lake City.