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February 22, 2010

Abbott extracts sweet revenge on Wildcats

In a tree. On fire. In the zone.

Any idiom could be used to describe the play of Ty Abbott Sunday so long as it means good. As in, really, really good.

One that's common vernacular in the Generation Y demographic is beastly, and Abbott was certainly that in Arizona State's 73-69 win over rival Arizona in Tucson.

"I don't know if you could call it that," a wide-grinning Abbott said from a hallway in the bowels of McKale Center following the game, "but sure, why not?"

Yes, why not? After all, if not today, then probably never.

Through the 11:00 mark of the second half, Abbott had already scored all of his game-high 28 points -- including six consecutive shots to start the period -- and had more than half his team's points as the Sun Devils claimed a 51-45 advantage they would not relinquish.

"I felt good in warm-ups and shooting this morning and I guess it kind of carried over," Abbott said. "When I was out there, I was really in the zone."

Abbott started the game off with two 3-pointers in the first seven minutes and it led to extra-aggressive defensive close outs whenever he had the ball on the perimeter, which in turn contributed to his ability to score off the bounce.

"I just get more aggressive, attack mode," Abbott said. "I start hitting and they can't sit on the [3-point shot] so then I start driving and I start hitting guys (with passes) because they're paying so much attention to me."

Everyone in the building could clearly see Abbott was the game's best player, including even the three elderly gentlemen who dressed up as blind referees for a baseline skit during the second half.

"I've got to say that their greatest performer tonight was Ty Abbott," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "He made a lot of great shots and he was set up for some really great plays. He is definitely responsible for their win tonight. ASU was very smart to put him in the position to make those shots. We really had no answer for him."

The performance no doubt was a measure of revenge for Abbott, who went 2-of-9 from the field and had 10 points in the teams' first meeting of the season, a 77-58 loss.

In that game, Abbott was fouled hard from behind on a breakaway by Arizona guard Kevin Parrom and two men eyed each other confrontationally before cooler heads prevailed.

Following the game, Parrom tweeted, "ASUWho ?!?!? I'm From Tha (sic) Bronx New York .. No Easy Buckets !!!," a slogan which Arizona fans latched onto and has become a catchphrase for the Wildcats this season.

But the buckets came easily and often for Abbott Sunday, and Parrom, his teammates and the dozens of fans wearing "No Easy Buckets" T-shirts certainly knew who was largely behind their demise.

"Abbott had a great game," UA forward Derrick Williams said. "We had a hand in his face, but he just kept knocking shots down. He just started out really hot and that carried through the game."


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