ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

No. 6 Baylor overpower Sun Devils in Battle 4 Atlantis quarterfinal

Nov 24, 2021, 8:31 PM | Updated: 10:21 pm
Baylor guard Kendall Brown greets teammates returning to the bench during an NCAA college basketbal...
Baylor guard Kendall Brown greets teammates returning to the bench during an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona State at Paradise Island, Bahamas, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. (Tim Aylen/Bahamas Visual Services via AP)

(Tim Aylen/Bahamas Visual Services via AP)

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Baylor’s balance is giving coach Scott Drew plenty of options to start the season.

The sixth-ranked Bears had five players score in double figures in their 75-63 win over Arizona State on Wednesday night that wrapped up first-round play at the Battle 4 Atlantis. L.J. Cryer led that group with 15 points, marking the fifth time in as many games that the Bears have had at least four double-figure scorers.

“It’s definitely beautiful,” said Adam Flagler, who had 13 points. “We’re always just trying to play for each other, trying to get the best shot always down the floor, and go 1-0.”

So far, that plan has worked for a team charged with replacing four starters from last year’s national championship squad. That group was led primarily by three lead scorers in Jared Butler (16.7 points), MaCio Teague (15.9) and Davion Mitchell (14.0).

Coming in, Cryer was averaging a team-high 18.5 points while four other players were averaging at least 10.3 points. The Bears (5-0) nearly had a sixth double-figure scorer in James Akinjo, who finished with nine points and seven assists.

“It’s critical because every game is not going to be your night,” Drew said, adding: “On nights that aren’t your shooting night, it’s great to have others you can depend on and go to. That’s the great thing about having a great rotation, a great bench. We go to the bench, and we normally get better.”

D.J. Horne scored 20 points to lead the Sun Devils (2-3), including a jumper and a pair of 3-pointers in the opening 2 1/2 minutes. Arizona State led by six early and was tied with 8 1/2 minutes left in the half, only to see Baylor put together a 19-4 burst — highlighted by 3s from Akinjo, Flagler and freshman Kendall Brown — to take a 42-27 lead.

That lead grew to 22 points, and the Sun Devils never got within single digits again.

While knocking down shots against Baylor’s defense was a challenge, Arizona State didn’t help itself with 15 turnovers. Eleven of those came in the opening half to help Baylor build its lead, leading to a dozen points, after Arizona State had averaged 11 turnovers over its last three games.

“That hurt us,” Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley said. “We knew coming in we couldn’t allow our offense to help them generate points. And we did that a little bit too much.”

BIG PICTURE

It’s been a bumpy start for the Sun Devils, with two early losses by a combined three points. They lost a game on a three-quarter-court heave to UC Riverside on Nov. 11, followed by a defeat at San Diego State on Saturday. And sophomore Marcus Bagley (10.0 points) didn’t travel to The Bahamas due to a lingering knee issue. Arizona State was trying for its first win against a ranked nonconference opponent since beating top-ranked Kansas in December 2018.

UP NEXT

The Sun Devils face Syracuse, which lost to VCU earlier Wednesday, in Thursday’s consolation bracket.

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona State Basketball

Ike Diogu #5 of the Arizona State Sun Devils looks on against the UCLA Bruins during their NCAA gam...
Arizona Sports

Ike Diogu’s jersey number will be retired by Arizona State basketball

Ike Diogu will have his jersey number retired by the Arizona State Sun Devils when his college team faces Colorado on Jan. 15, 2022.
18 hours ago
In a photo provided by Bahamas Visual Services, Arizona State forward Jalen Graham (2) is defended ...
Nicholas Hodell

ASU basketball leaving Bahamas failures behind ahead of first Pac-12 games

The Sun Devils, coming off of three losses in three days, have no time to dwell on their shortcomings with Pac-12 play beginning this week.
18 hours ago
Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff, left, and Senior Associate Commissioner Teresa Gould speak du...
Associated Press

Pac-12, alliance partners form mental health initiative

The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten and Pac-12 launched an initiative Monday to raise awareness of the importance of mental health.
2 days ago
In a photo provided by Bahamas Visual Services, Arizona State coach Bobby Hurely watches the team p...
Associated Press

ASU falls to Loyola-Chicago, losing 3 straight in Bahamas

Loyola Chicago pulled away in the second half to post a 77-59 win over Arizona State on Friday night in the Bahamas.
5 days ago
In this photo provided by Bahamas Visual Services, Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurely looks on d...
Associated Press

Arizona State meets Loyola-Chicago in Battle 4 Atlantis

The Arizona State Sun Devils will go up against Loyola of Chicago in the Battle 4 Atlantis on Friday night in the Bahamas.
5 days ago
In a photo provided by Bahamas Visual Services, Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurely gestures duri...
Associated Press

Sun Devils can’t overcome halftime deficit, lose to Syracuse

Facing an 18-point deficit at halftime, the Sun Devils couldn't pull off the comeback, falling to Syracuse 92-84.
6 days ago
No. 6 Baylor overpower Sun Devils in Battle 4 Atlantis quarterfinal