It was a good night on the hardwood for the Miller brothers. Just as Indiana coach Archie Miller was wrapping up a win over No. 4 Iowa on the road, Arizona coach Sean Miller was bagging himself a nice road victory, too — and in dramatic fashion.
His Wildcats escaped Tempe, Arizona with an 84-82 win over in-state rival Arizona State on Thursday. Tied at 82-all, Arizona’s James Akinjo’s would-be game-winner came up short. But freshman Azuolas Tubelis was there for the rebound and put-back, which dropped as time expired.
The last-second theatrics for Arizona were a fitting way to send it off into the sunset after a game that was filled with twists and turns. Arizona led by double digits and held the lead for the majority of the game, but Arizona State made a push and claimed its biggest lead of the night — by seven — with just under five minutes to play. From there the Wildcats closed on a 15-6 run that culminated with the walk-off game-winner.
Resilient as ever, Arizona, even with a postseason ban hanging over the program this year, ended it with fight. The same couldn’t be said of ASU — and hasn’t been said of ASU — as it now drops to 1-4 in Pac-12 play while Arizona vaults to 5-3, well within reach of contending for the conference crown.
For Arizona State, it’s part of what has been a stunningly disappointing season that continues to trend downward. After being picked to finish second in the Pac-12 this preseason — and garnering first-place votes — it now sits with 2-11 Washington as the only conference teams with just one win in league play to date.