With 1.1 seconds left in the game, Arizona State led by just two points.
Washington’s Dan Kingma fired a pass two-fifths the length of court to Markelle Fultz. The projected lottery pick turned, jumped and desperately heaved a contested 3-pointer from behind halfcourt.
The buzzer sounded as the shot traveled in the air. After a second or two it finally cranked off the front iron of the rim springing upwards and away from the hoop as the Sun Devils celebrated an 83-81 win on Thursday night.
It was that close. Inches close and inches away from the Sun Devils falling by a point and blowing a 15-point lead.
Instead, Arizona State (13-14, 6-8 Pac-12) swept Washington for the first time since 2002-03 and finds itself on its first win streak since Dec. 30, 2016, when the Sun Devils beat Stanford to open Pac-12 play. The win marked their sixth win in Pac-12 play, which is one more than last season’s 5-13, 11th-placed Sun Devils. With four more games until the Pac-12 tournament, the Sun Devils sit at seventh in the Pac-12 standings.
It was a win. But it wasn't exactly pretty.
In the first half, the Sun Devils were up by as much as 13-2, 20-6 and 30-15.
Then, Markelle Fultz happened.
The freshman sensation who had been out for the past two games with a knee injury was a game-time decision Thursday night. He started the first four minutes of the game and then sat out and rode a stationary bike while watching ASU build its’ lead.
Down 30-15 with 7:54 left in the first half, Fultz bolted back onto the court. He and the Huskies quickly turned that score into 30-20, 31-26, then 35-34. And all of the sudden, the Huskies held a 41-39 lead at the half.
Washington ended the first half on a 26-9 run.
With just over 11 minutes left in the game, the Huskies led by as much as five, 63-58. But the second half was primarily a seesaw battle containing nine lead changes.
The Sun Devils took a 73-71 lead with six and a half minutes left and never trailed from then on. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t close.
With 9.8 seconds left and the Maroon and Gold leading 80-77, Tra Holder was fouled and then tangled up in the arms of Washington’s Carlos Johnson. Holder untied himself and then shoved Johnson. The incident resulted in a flagrant one for Johnson and a technical foul on Holder.
Standing alone at the line because of the flagrant foul, Holder sunk both free throws. Then, on the other end, Johnson did the same. It was 82-79 with 9.8 seconds left and the Huskies’ ball.
Fultz missed a 3-pointer, then Dan Kingma made a put-back layup.
Up 82-81 with 1.7 seconds left, Torian Graham went to the line, made the first one and then a lane violation was called on the second shot. This set up the Fultz half-court airborne three-pointer that banked off the front iron giving ASU the win.
The Sun Devil guards dominated the stat sheet as usual as Graham had 29 points, Holder finished with 21 and Shannon Evans added 13.
Fultz ended the night scoring 19 points.
Both teams were hot from the field as Arizona State shot 45.5 percent overall and Washington shot 45.2. But the ultimate game-changer was the Sun Devils’ 40 percent (10-25) from three-point range, compared to the Huskies’ 26.9 percent (7-26).
After sweeping Washington for the first time in 14 years, the Sun Devils look to upend Washington State (11-15, 4-10). Tip off is at 2 p.m. MST.