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ASU’s Hurley explains new starting lineup: ‘Something needed to change’

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley calls out from the bench during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Princeton, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. Princeton defeated the No. 17 ranked Sun Devils 67-66. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

Arizona State is 1-2 since its win over then No. 1 Kansas.

For Sun Devils fans, it’s a bit of a repeating story from last year.

“No Christmas in Phoenix or something,” head coach Bobby Hurley jokingly said Tuesday on Doug & Wolf on 98.7 Arizona’s Sports Station. “The last few years, we’ve done great before Christmas, we’ve broken (for the holiday break), we’ve come back and things weren’t quite the same.”

This year’s edition of the team was 9-3 in non-conference play to begin the year, ranking the Sun Devils as high as No. 17 in the country.

But ASU followed the second consecutive victory over Kansas with back-to-back losses at home.

The first was to Princeton, as the Sun Devils’ poor shooting and three missed game-winning attempts in the last possession of the game saw them lose to the Ivy League school 67-66 to wrap up non-conference play.

The loss also caused Arizona State to fall out of the Top-25 completely.

The second of the back-to-back losses was to Utah, as ASU blew a 17-point lead in a 96-86 loss to open up Pac-12 play.

Trying to prevent a repeat of last year’s 0-2 start in conference play, the Devils were able to get back in the win column Saturday with an 83-61 win over Colorado, but not without making some changes to the starting lineup.

“You can throw me into the mix too for accountability with our loss to Princeton and Utah,” Hurley said.

“You just can’t keep going on the same way. Something needed to change. We have to do a better job of once we have a team down … we can’t give away those opportunities (of winning). Hopefully we learn from it and move on.”

Guards Luguentz Dort and Remy Martin were pulled for junior and senior guards Rob Edwards and De’Quon Lake, respectively.

To put the move in perspective, Dort (17.5 points per game) and Martin (12 points per game) are the team’s leading scorers.

Dort had started every game of the season up to this point, as the freshman leads all Sun Devils per game in minutes (32.5), steals (1.6) and free-throw attempts (7.1).

Martin is the team’s per game assists leader (4.0) and second on the team in steals (1.3).

ASU dominated Colorado in field-goal percentage (57.1 to 32.8), three-point percentage (33.3 to 19.2), rebounds (42 to 28) and assists (24-10).

Edwards scored nine points in 33 minutes, while Lake scored 12 points in 21 minutes to go along with seven rebounds.

Although Dort and Martin came off the bench, the two managed to play 26 and 24 minutes, respectively.

Martin lead the team in assists with eight, while Dort was able to score 14 points.

“The greatest thing that happened was the response from Remy and Lu,” Hurley added. “Remy did a great job leading us and Lu made much better decisions.”

Hurley did not state what his starting lineup will be going into the northern California road trip when the team visits Cal and Stanford.


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