SEATTLE - The schedulemaker from Hades must have been involved in Arizona State’s Pac-10 opener here Thursday night.
The Sun Devils, picked to finish last in the conference, merely had to play the undefeated, seventhranked Washington Huskies — the nation’s highestscoring team — in a loud, cramped arena from the old school: Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
The Devils (6-4, 0-1) ignored the script for a while, playing a half of basketball from heaven, then descended into the netherworld, bowing 91-67 to the fast-paced Huskies (11-0, 1-0).
"I can’t fault the effort," said ASU coach Rob Evans, who called frequent timeouts to try to limit the Huskies’ devastating offensive outbursts. "But against a good team, you can’t let them get on runs."
The Huskies committed only three turnovers, fewest ever made by a Washington team and fewest ever forced by a Rob Evans-coached team.
"We didn’t create turnovers," Evans said. "I’ve never had that happen in my life."
The Huskies also had Brandon Roy, one of the nation’s best players, who scored 35 points thanks in part to 5-for-5 shooting from 3-point range.
In the end, the Huskies hit their average, 91 points, in extending their home winning streak — the nation’s longest — to 32 games.
ASU got nice games from Kevin Kruger (18 points, four assists, just one turnover) and Antwi Atuahene (10 points, four assists and one turnover in 22 minutes).
The Sun Devils surprised the Huskies in the first half, running up a 9-2 lead in the early minutes, falling behind, then nosing out front, 38-36, just before halftime.
But the Huskies tied the game, and — after Atuahene took a too-quick shot — edged ahead, 40-38, in the half’s final seconds.
"We played really well in the first half. . . . We should have been up," Evans said.
In the second half, the Huskies’ nearly overwhelming firepower exposed enough holes in the Devils’ defense to run away with the game. They scored the second half’s first 10 points, and the Sun Devils never seriously challenged them.
"That’s how they live," Kruger said of such explosions by the Huskies. "We didn’t come out with the energy we had in the first half.
"We missed some box-outs, and that gave them too many opportunities."
Evans agreed, saying, "They went on that 10-0 run not on first shots, but on second and third shots."
From ASU’s perspective, it didn’t help that the Sun Devils missed a host of layups and other shots at point-blank range. A few of the Sun Devils appeared to have the jitters, including freshman Sylvester Seay and junior Serge Angounou.
Freshman Jeff Pendergraph (six points, six rebounds) was in constant foul trouble, which shortened ASU’s rotation up front.
Hec Edmundson Pavilion isn’t the ideal place for anybody to make their Pac-10 debut, not when you’re facing an undefeated, nationally ranked team.
It showed for a number of ASU players — five of their nine top players are newcomers to the program — but not so much for Chad Goldstein, who had eight points.
The freshman transfer from UC-Davis, who became eligible in mid-December and whose role expanded almost immediately after the seasonending knee injury to Allen Morill, helped keep the Devils in the game in the first half by using his inside scoring instincts.
"He played well, considering he’s a freshman," Evans said. "He played with a lot of poise."
The Sun Devils will travel today to Pullman, Wash., where they’ll prepare for Saturday afternoon’s game at Washington State. . . . Roy, an NBA prospect, became the 31st Washington player to surpass 1,000 points in his career. . . . The game had a number of hard collisions, with Evans referring to "cheap shots" without being specific.