Perhaps coach Herb Sendek and the Arizona State Sun Devils basketball team should schedule the Tulsa Golden Hurricane every year. This after the Devils defeated Tulsa for the second straight season with a 67-64 win in Oklahoma Saturday afternoon.
The Sun Devils (3-4) won their first actual road game of the 2011-2012 season after three games in Orlando on a neutral court. Keala King made 7 of 9 shots for a team high 18 points with four assists and three steals, though the sophomore was responsible for six of ASU's 14 turnovers.
The turnover number was significant in that it was four less than ASU's average so far on the season. The Devils also shot 61 percent from the field while holding Tulsa to 41.8 percent.
Still without a true point guard, the Devils struggled at times to get into an offensive rhythm. But King eventually established himself as the leader on offensive during Saturday's game, and was particularly aggressive in the late going. He scored nine of the team's 11 points during a decisive 11-8 run, and converted a three-point play with 3:34 left to give ASU a 59-54 lead.
The Devils missed several free throws in the final 2:10 that gave Tulsa (4-5) some hope, but King's steal in the closing seconds sealed the win.
ASU also defeated Tulsa 69-59 in Tempe last season.
The Devils gave up five three-pointers to Tulsa guard Scottie Haralson before wising up on defense and rotating out and playing him tighter for much of the second half.
After a losing a 12-4 lead, ASU led by as many as six points in the first half with help from a couple of threes by Jonathan Gilling, a freshman. The Devils led 32-30 at halftime.
A turnaround move in the lane from Carrick Felix gave ASU a 39-32 lead with 16:58 left in the second half. But Tulsa went on a 10-run to take the lead after a three from Haralson.
Tulsa's last lead of the game was 46-45 with 8:30 left. A drop-step move from big man Ruslan Pateev for a bucket gave ASU an insurmountable 61-54 lead with 2:55 to play in the game.
Felix added 10 points and seven boards and Pateev finished with eight points, four rebounds and three assists.
ASU returns home for the next five games to close out the non-league season.