To foul or not to foul: The decision magnified in No. 21 ASU’s loss to Utah

Jan 25, 2018, 11:12 PM | Updated: Jan 26, 2018, 3:14 pm

Arizona State guard Tra Holder (0) and Utah guard Parker Van Dyke (5) vie for a loose ball during t...

Arizona State guard Tra Holder (0) and Utah guard Parker Van Dyke (5) vie for a loose ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. Utah won 80-77 in overtime. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Not every coach believes in the same approach. Some believe in fouling, while others choose to let the game play out.

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley chose not to discuss how he would like his team to handle the late-game situation, but it was clear he would’ve preferred a different approach, let alone a different outcome.

Here was the situation: Up three, your opponent has the ball and only seconds remain.

The question is, do you foul? The Sun Devils did not.

After Shannon Evans II scored to make it 69-66 with nine seconds left, Utah guard Sedrick Barefield dribbled up the floor, angled to the right and hit an off-balance 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. And in overtime, the Utes outscored the No. 21 Sun Devils 11-8 to pull out an 80-77 win in front of 11,536 at Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday.

“I wish I had a timeout,” Hurley said, before giving his thoughts on the final ticks of regulation. “There was too much going on. Like, you start screaming, ‘Foul him!’ I mean it wasn’t the right situation to be able to convey that message to our team.”

It’s worth noting that earlier in the second half with 1:06 left and ASU down 66-64, Hurley took a timeout for an inbounds pass, only to burn his last timeout right after the discussion because his team could not get the ball in.

The 3-pointer was Barefield’s fourth on four attempts.

As a team, Utah went 14-of-32 from beyond the arc, something Hurley pointed to repeatedly after the game.

“It happens. He hit a good shot,” guard Remy Martin said, referring to Barefield. “I think it’s up to me, because I was guarding him, to at least know that we’re up three and he shouldn’t get a wide open three. But that’s something we’re going to learn and let’s move on to the next.”

The loss marked the fourth straight week in which ASU dropped the first game of its two-game Pac-12 set. They have yet to sweep a two-game draw in Hurley’s three seasons on campus.

“We won 12 in row so I think we can win two in a row,” he said.

Overshadowed in the loss was the play of guard Tra Holder, who recorded his first double-double of the season with a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds.

Holder shot 7-of-16 from the field with a pair of 3s, breaking out of a six-game slump in which he had made less than 30-percent of his field goal attempts.

In addition to Holder, Evans (14 points), De’Quon Lake (10) and Martin (10) all reached double figures in scoring. Martin tallied all his points over a two-and-half minute stretch in the second half, part of 13-0 run that put the Sun Devils up 60-55 with 6:56 remaining.

At eight games into conference play, ASU is 3-5.

“We’re fine, we’re fine,” Martin said. “A lot of people think this is the end of the world because we lost this game, but we’re fine. We still got a winning record. But no matter what, we’re going to stay true to ourselves and we’re going to get in the gym everyday and we’re going to fix this. Trust me.”


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