Arizona State entered Saturday night's battle in the desert with cross-state rival Arizona as the lone unbeaten team in college basketball. But like the unbeatens that played before it on Saturday - No. 10 TCU and No. 1 Villanova - the Sun Devils suffered a similar fate at the McKale Center as the No. 17 Wildcats dealt them their first loss of the season 84-78.
So now there are zero unbeaten teams in college basketball on Dec. 30 after beginning the day with three - the first time since at least 1948 that every Division I team had at least one loss before January, according to ESPN Stats. It's also believed the first time the final three undefeated teams in the sport lost on the same day.
"I credit Arizona State, we were shook at the end and it's because of its pressure and their will," said Wildcats coach Sean Miller in reflection of his team's win - his 300th career game coaching at Arizona. "They're a difficult team to beat - this is our best win of the season because that's such an exceptional team."
The third-ranked Sun Devils played from behind for a majority of the game thanks to the stellar play of true freshman DeAndre Ayton, who finished with 23 points and 19 rebounds. He carried Zona's weight in the first half as the Cats took a 2-point lead at the break with little scoring help from leading scorer Allonzo Trier.
The second half was a different story, though, as Trier came alive. The junior scored 18 of his 23 points in the final 20 minutes which he says was a testament of his willingness to keep plugging.
"I missed easy shots in the first half, shots I usually make," said Trier. "In the second half those went in and helped us get some separation."
Arizona was once the No. 2 team in the country earlier this season, but a surprising three-game losing skid at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas sent the Wildcats clear into the territory of the unranked. Don't look now, though, because Arizona's reeled off eight-straight since that trying stretch and rounding into form just as league play kicks off.
That's bad news for the rest of the Pac-12, and as we saw Saturday, even worse news for the upstart Sun Devils.