ASU basketball shows improvement in blowout of NAU

Nov 10, 2022, 11:02 PM

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

TEMPE – Unlike Monday’s narrow, 62-59, victory over Tarleton State, Arizona State men’s basketball (2-0) did what it was supposed to do against a mid-major Thursday.

The Sun Devils used a much better offensive performance and sweltering defense for most of the game to defeat Northern Arizona (0-2) 84-68 at Desert Financial Arena.

“Even though we won, I felt like we lost … Monday,” ASU guard D.J. Horne said. “I felt like we’re a better team than what we showed out there. So, you know today definitely was for me a lot of a better feeling, you know, leaving the gym today. And yeah just, you know, build from it from here.”

While there was still a little bit too much isolation ball, the offense looked to be clicking much more than it did in Monday’s game against the Texans. The Sun Devils shot 26 of 48 (54.2 percent) from the field and 9-for-17 (52.9 percent) from 3-point territory on Thursday.

Horne led the way for ASU with 25 points, the most he has scored in his two-plus years as a Sun Devil. The junior guard shot 7 of 11 from the field, 4 of 6 from 3-point range and was 7-9 from the free throw line. He added six rebounds, two steals and three assists.

Senior guard-forward Devan Cambridge was also an offensive spark, scoring 16 points on 5-for-8 shooting. He was a perfect 3 of 3 from 3-point land and had perhaps the highlight of the game, slamming home an alley-oop dunk off of an assist by guard Frankie Collins at the 6:39 mark in the first half.

ASU coach Bobby Hurley discussed the solid offensive performance by his team.

“I think it flowed very well,” Hurley said. “I liked Frankie had eight assists. I was happy to see Warren (Washington) get involved a little bit. You know D.J. had it going obviously you know making shots. But I think the ball was moving pretty well and I felt like we were a little more relaxed out there. And, you know, all the statistical categories will back that up.”

ASU never trailed after Marcus Bagley gave the team a 4-2 lead at the 18:09 mark in the first half. However, it was a 20-0 run by the Sun Devils from the 2:11 mark in the first half until the 17:07 mark in the second half that put the game out of reach for the Lumberjacks.

ASU’s defense had a great night for most of the game, forcing NAU to shoot just 9 of 29 (31 percent) from the field and 1-for-13 (7.7 percent) from three in the first half. ASU’s solid defensive play continued into the second half but as the second half went on, NAU found success offensively, making nine of its last 11 shots. ASU’s largest lead of 35 points dwindled all the way down to just 12 with 1:58 left.

Hurley described the last 10 minutes of the game as “a fiasco.”

“I’ll attribute some of, you know, the maybe dysfunction or just poor play to being in a lopsided situation and not knowing how to handle it,” Hurley said.

Up Next

ASU travels to Texas Southern for its next game on Sunday at 1 p.m. MST.

Cambridge discussed how the team needs to perform on its upcoming road trip.

“We got to have communication on the defensive end, you know, playing together still,” Cambridge said. “And I think we can compete with anybody if we do those things. And I’m not really scared to play anybody.”

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