- Associated Press - Sunday, January 29, 2017

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Washington State faded down the stretch against No. 7 Arizona in its previous game. The Cougars rebounded against Arizona State, winning down the road in Tempe for the first time since 2009 behind the senior duo of Josh Hawkinson and Ike Iroegbu.

Hawkinson scored a career-high with 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Iroegbu had 22 points and 10 assists in the Cougars’ 91-83 victory over the Sun Devils on Sunday.

“I personally challenged them that they needed to carry us,” Washington State coach Ernie Kent. “They did it.”

The Cougars (11-10, 3-6 Pac-12) managed to hang with No. 7 Arizona deep into Thursday’s game before the Wildcats pulled away late for a 79-62 victory. Washington State prevented a desert sweep by getting the ball into Hawkinson and out on the break .

After a quiet game in Tucson, Hawkinson dominated the smaller Sun Devils inside, hitting 10 of 16 shots and all nine of his free throws. Washington State shot 53 percent overall, had 20 assists on 30 field goals and a 22-6 advantage on the break.

“This team can score, we just need to find our groove and we did it today,” Kent said.

Arizona State (10-12, 3-6) picked up a solid win over Washington on Thursday, but was disjointed at times on offense against Washington State and had no answer for Hawkinson after repeatedly allowing him to get the ball in deep.

Tra Holder led the Sun Devils with 27 points and Torian Graham added 19.

“This is a tough loss. It’s going to sting because of the progress we’ve made,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said.

Arizona State beat Washington 86-75 on Thursday and was looking for their first sweep of the Washington schools since 2010.

The Sun Devils got off to a slow start, needing more than four minutes to hit their first basket, and had a hard time slowing Hawkinson.

The 6-foot-10 senior had nine points against Arizona’s big front line, but had his way against the Sun Devils in the first half, scoring 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

The Cougars had just as much trouble containing Holder in the first half. The junior guard repeatedly got inside Washington State’s defense and had 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting to help the Sun Devils to a 40-37 lead.

Hawkinson continued to give the Sun Devils trouble inside and Iroegbu started to heat up, helping the Cougars build a seven-point lead midway through the second half despite big man Conor Clifford picking up his fourth foul.

Arizona State made a brief run, but the Cougars quickly pushed the lead up to eight and kept a good cushion the rest of the way by hitting 17 of 29 shots.

“They just wanted it more than we did,” said Arizona State guard Shannon Evans, who had 15 points. “Maybe we were focused on the wrong thing. I don’t know what it was, but they just played harder.”

BIG PICTURE

A desert split is a nice result for Washington State, particularly after playing well most of the night against Arizona.

Undersized Arizona State tends to struggle against active big men and did again against Hawkinson for its fifth loss in six games.

LIMITED CLIFFORD

Clifford had a strong game against Arizona’s big men, scoring a team-high 19 points. He wasn’t much of a factor against the smaller, attacking Sun Devils, even without the foul trouble.

Clifford was limited to 11 minutes, scoring two points on 0-of-1 shooting and grabbing three rebounds.

“It wasn’t a game where he could be on the floor,” Kent said. “Their small ball bothered us.”

STOPPING SCORERS

Arizona State has the Pac-12’s worst scoring defense and has had particular trouble against opposing Pac-12 teams’ top scorers. Hawkinson is the fifth Pac-12 player to score 30 points against the Sun Devils in the past eight games, joining Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen (30), UCLA’s Isaac Hamilton (33), Stanford’s Marcus Sheffield (35) and Colorado’s Derrick White (35)

UP NEXT

Washington State hosts No. 8 UCLA on Wednesday then Southern Cal on Saturday.

Arizona State plays at No. 10 Oregon on Thursday and at Oregon State on Saturday.

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