TEMPE, Ariz.: Azoulas Tubelis scored on a tip-in at the buzzer after blocking Remy Martin’s shot at the other end, capping Arizona’s 84-82 comeback victory over rival Arizona State Thursday night.
Arizona (11-3, 5-3 Pac-12) trailed by seven late in the second half, but rallied to tie it at 82-all with a minute left. Tubelis blocked Martin’s layup attempt with 9 seconds left and the Wildcats rushed the ball up the floor.
James Akinjo shot an air ball on a 3-point attempt while being harassed by Josh Christopher, but Tubelis plucked the ball out of the air and laid it over the rim, sending the Wildcats rushing onto the floor.
Akinjo led Arizona with 24 points.
Martin and Christopher had 18 each for Arizona State (4-7, 1-4), which lost its second straight game on a last-second shot.
The Sun Devils started the season among the favorites to win the Pac-12. They’ve yet to live up to expectations, plagued by COVID-19 issues and inconsistent play on the court.
Arizona State missed five games to positive tests and has yet to have its full team in uniform this season. The Sun Devils arrived at the rivalry game on a three-game losing streak, including a one-point loss to Oregon State after a couple of late defensive breakdowns.
Arizona clobbered the Beavers by 34 points in its last game.
The Wildcats gave Arizona State trouble with their length early Thursday night, forcing difficult shots and creating turnovers while building a 10-point lead.
The Sun Devils continued to struggle with turnovers 12 in the first half after four against Oregon State but used a 9-0 run to pull within two.
Akinjo had 14 points and three of Arizona’s seven 3-pointers to help the Wildcats lead 35-30 at halftime.
Arizona State cut down on the turnovers in the second half and the teams traded baskets seemingly every time down the court during one stretch midway through.
Martin became the catalyst after a quiet first half and hit a long 3-pointer to cap a 12-2 run that put Arizona State up 76-69.
The Wildcats clawed back to tie it with a minute left and Tubelis came through at both ends of the floor for Arizona’s first win in Tempe since 2018.
Arizona appeared to be in trouble after Martin scored 15 of his points in the second half, but pulled out an impressive win after losing by one to Arizona State last year in Tempe.
The Sun Devils shook off a shaky start to play their best game of the Pac-12 season, but again failed defensively in a crucial moment.
Arizona State heads down Interstate-10 to face Arizona again on Monday.
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