TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona State had bolstered its NCAA tournament resume with string of victories, yet was still looking for a marquee win to punctuate it.
Beating No. 2 Arizona in double overtime for what may be the biggest home win in program history might do the trick.
Getting big plays from Jermaine Marshall and Jordan Bachynski, the Sun Devils grinded out a 69-66, double-overtime victory over the Wildcats on Friday night that set off a raucous celebration with their fans and carried over into the locker room.
“No words can explain the joy that we feel right now,” Arizona State center Jordan Bachynski said. “That is huge for us … for our resume, for our goals of (playing in a) postseason tournament.”
Arizona State (19-6, 8-4 Pac-12) was blown out the previous time these desert rivals met, losing by 23 in Tucson on Jan. 16.
The Sun Devils were ready for the rematch.
They had been playing better, winning five of six games to get back in the postseason hunt.
Marshall, who missed the first game with a groin injury, was back in the lineup, itching to make up for the time he lost.
Bachynski had been playing better since a forgettable first game, when he had three points on 0-of-3 shooting.
Arizona (23-2, 10-2) also was a different team, playing its third game since forward Brandon Ashley, one of the team’s best and most versatile players, went out for the season with a foot injury.
Defense dominated the rematch, neither team was able to lead by more than six, with 16 lead changes and nine ties.
After failed attempts to win it by both teams at the end of regulation and the first overtime, Arizona State pulled it out in the second overtime, setting off two court rushes by the students: One after Jahii Carson scored on a breakaway dunk, the other after more time was put on the clock and Arizona’s Nick Johnson missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Second-ranked Arizona was the highest-ranked opponent Arizona State had ever beaten at home.
“This was the icing on the cake for me,” said Carson, who had 17 points and six assists. “I’ve never beat them.”