Bobby Hurley ejected, Sun Devils fall to New Mexico State
PHOENIX — Arizona State’s quick 1-0 lead over New Mexico State before the official tip-off might’ve been a sign of good things to come for the Sun Devils.
Incidentally, the rest of the “good things” decided not to follow suit.
ASU (6-5) ran out of steam in the second half, losing 81-70 to the Aggies (10-2). This is Arizona State’s first home loss on the season.
However, head coach Bobby Hurley let off some of his steam, when he was ejected at the 9:47 mark of the second half. Hurley was arguing for a non-foul call on a three-point shot by Shannon Evans II.
ASU kept things close, as the team was down just two at halftime to the Aggies. However, New Mexico State quickly widened the margin, ballooning the lead to 55-45 at the 12:28 mark. The Aggies pushed that lead to a game-high 15 points with 3:52 remaining.
Obinna Oleka led the Sun Devils with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Tra Holder and Torian Graham also scored in double figures, however ASU shot 41.3 percent as a team, while the Aggies shot 50 percent.
New Mexico State: The Aggies head home to Las Cruces, N.M., for their next three games, including one on Dec. 30 against UTEP in the “Battle of I-10” series, the second meeting of the month between the teams. Those three games are the final non-conference contests before WAC play opens in January.
Arizona State: ASU on Saturday started a three-game homestead which includes No. 10 Creighton’s visit to Tempe on Dec. 20. Creighton will be third top-20 team the Sun Devils face in the non-conference season.
New Mexico State: The Aggies were given a technical foul right before tipoff for not submitting their starting lineup by the deadline of 10 minutes prior to the start of the game. … Haley went down early in the second half and limped off the court. He got his left ankle taped and went back to the locker room, returning to the bench moments later and eventually back into action.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils played their first game without highly-touted freshman Sam Cunliffe, who left the program after the team’s game at San Diego State last Saturday. He was averaging 9.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game and had started all 10. … Justice appeared to take a shot to the face in the first half and left the court with a trainer, but returned quickly and continued to play.
Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Andre Reed attended Saturday’s game and had courtside seats.
New Mexico State: Hosts UC-Irvine on Monday night. The Aggies’ 16-game home win streak is on the line.
Arizona State: Hosts No. 10 and unbeaten Creighton on Tuesday night. Creighton will be the highest ranked non-conference team to play at ASU since Dec. 20, 1980, when ASU hosted No. 7 Ohio State.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.