Outmatched inside the lane all season, the University of Washington basketball team finally got a fair fight in the desert.
On Tuesday night, Arizona State showed up without its three starting big men, plus two guys who back them up, all missing either because of injury or virus issues.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, the Sun Devils still had Remy Martin.
The Pac-12's leading scorer kept his team together and led ASU to a breezy 97-64 victory, supplying 26 points, five better than his average, in a make-up game for one canceled in Seattle in early January.
This match-up never should have tipped off.
"It just kept snowballing," UW coach Mike Hopkins said.
The Huskies (5-18 overall, 4-14 Pac-12) were in trouble from the beginning, taking the floor without leading scorer Quade Green. For the third time this season, the senior guard did something unexplained that prevented him from coming out for the opening tipoff.
There was no excuse.
For him sitting out for the first three and a half minutes.
For not scoring until early in the second half.
Or for drawing a technical foul with 10 minutes left and sitting down.
The Sun Devils made absolutely no excuses for their predicament.
They stepped it up and thoroughly shamed a Hopkins' team that had tanked more than a few games earlier in the season.
"They just played harder than us," UW guard Jamal Bey said. "We've had a lot of games, but that's no excuse."
The way the Huskies played, ASU could have picked up four guys from the intramural gym, paired them with Martin and walked away satisfied.
The Sun Devils (8-11, 5-8) went without starters Josh Christopher and Marcus Bailey, a pair of double-figure scorers, and starter Jalen Graham, plus reserves Pavlo Dzuiba and Taeshon Cherry.
That's a lot of unavailable firepower.
It just wasn't needed.
"We didn't know who was starting," Bey said, unaware the hosts were short-handed. "That's new information. for sure."
ASU's Kimani Lawrence, a 6-8 senior who normally comes off the bench, provided 22 points, 9 over his previous season high and tying a career best. He chipped in a game-high rebounds, too.
Forced to play an NBA schedule to close out the regular season to get all their conference games in, the Huskies took the floor for the first of three games in five nights. They acted like it was the last one, like they had nothing left. And they were coming off two wins in their previous three outings.
ASU let the the visitors hang around for just 10 minutes before the crafty, 6-foot Martin started heating up and his team gradually began pulling away.
The UW trailed just 19-18 when Bey dropped in the second of a pair of free throws.
It was time to say goodbye.
For the final 10 minutes of the half, the Huskies disappeared for good.
Martin hit four shots in a row and ASU pulled in front 37-26.
The Sun Devils took it up to 49-29 at the break, with Martin resting with 16 points.
Only Bey showed up to play for the Huskies over the opening half, supplying 12 points by halftime. He didn't score again.
If things couldn't get any worse, Hopkins' guys were outscored 19-2 to open the next half.
The Huskies played as bad in the first eight minutes following intermission as they had all season. Tossing up airballs. Throwing the ball away. Substituting rapid-fire.
Marcus Tsohonis, who started in place of Green, topped his team with 16 points.
"I just decided to start Marcus," Hopkins said unconvincingly, of keeping his 15.3-point scorer on the bench early.
The UW now has 48 hours to try and forget this debacle and take on Arizona State all over again.
No word on whether the Sun Devils will have any of their missing players back.
It's hard to say if the Huskies will have anyone show up.
Follow Dan Raley of Husky Maven on Twitter: @DanRaley1 and @HuskyMaven
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