James Harden scored 24 points, and Arizona State upset Washington 75-65 on Friday night in the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament after blowing a 21-point lead.
Harden, the Pac-10 player of the year, shot 7-of-13, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, and had nine rebounds and four assists for the fourth-seeded Sun Devils (24-8), who beat the Huskies for just the second time in the last 15 games between the schools.
Jeff Pendergraph had 18 points and seven rebounds, Derek Glasser added 16 points and five assists and Ty Abbott scored 12 points for Arizona State. The Sun Devils had a 3-10 record in previous conference tournaments and had never reached the semifinals, much less won the championship. They'll shoot for their first title Saturday.
Washington's Isaiah Thomas scored 17 points, Jon Brockman had 13 and six rebounds and Justin Dentmon added 11 points for the top-seeded Huskies who had their six-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the second time in 11 games.
Glasser made two 3-pointers during an 11-0 run that gave the Sun Devils a 69-60 lead with 3:03 left, and the Huskies didn't threaten after that. ASU outscored Washington 17-5 in the last six minutes.
After being thoroughly outplayed in the first half and trailing 38-21, the Huskies moved within nine points by outscoring the Sun Devils 14-6 to begin the second half.
After baskets by Glasser and Harden extended ASU's lead to 13, the game was halted for about five minutes when Washington's Venoy Overton and Harden collided, with Overton being knocked to the court. Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar sprinted onto the court to pull Overton away as players from both sides jawed at each other. Harden, Overton and Glasser were both hit with technical fouls.
That seemed to fire up the Huskies, who outscored the Sun Devils 20-6 to take a 55-54 lead with 8:14 remaining. Washington led 60-58 before Glasser and the Sun Devils took command.
The Huskies learned an important lesson tonight and that is they have to bring their "A" game almost every night to win in this league. A lackluster victory over Stanford the night before spelled trouble going into this one.
It would have been nice if Washington had advanced to the championship game but they get to return home early and save their legs which is probably a bigger reward this time of the season than winning this meaningless tournament. When you win the championship outright this type of thing is a little redundant.
Washington will either be a #3 or #4 seed and end up staying in the Northwest for their first two game of the tournament. I think they learned an important lesson tonight that should get them back on track for the tough journey ahead.