ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

ASU coach Bobby Hurley: ‘I don’t think our team was fool’s gold’

Nov 22, 2022, 10:28 AM
Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley, center, celebrates with Alonzo Gaffney (32), Austin Nunez (2...

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley, center, celebrates with Alonzo Gaffney (32), Austin Nunez (2), Malcolm Flaggs and Desmond Cambridge Jr. (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan in the championship round of the Legends Classic Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in New York. Arizona State won 87-62. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Though they entered the game Thursday as 7.5-point underdogs against the 20th-ranked Michigan Wolverines, the Arizona State Sun Devils dominated their way to a 25-point victory.

The combination of dogged defense and lights-out shooting propelled head coach Bobby Hurley’s team to an early double-digit lead. The Wolverines couldn’t mount a run large enough to come back from it.

“Just to put together that type of performance against a team in the caliber of Michigan is impressive,” Hurley told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Monday. “It shows we’ve got great upside … I don’t think our team was fool’s gold.”

The Wolverines were the first ranked opponent ASU played against this season. However, the Sun Devils played three grind-it-out games through their first four games this season.

“The teams that we played are very hard-playing teams, denying passing lanes everywhere,” Hurley said. “I think the schedule that we had already played had prepared us for [Michigan].

“Things seemed to flow easier at the offensive end for us in that game.”

Four Sun Devils scored in double figures in the Michigan game, included the perimeter duo of D.J. Horne and Desmond Cambridge combining for 49 points on 14-of-26 shooting.

The punch also came off the bench, with freshman Austin Nunez adding 15 and redshirt senior guard Luther Muhammad scoring 13.

“I was happy for [Muhammad],” Hurley said. “Going back home to the New York area to play as well as he did in the championship game.”

On the heels of their 4-1 start, the Sun Devils may have reinforcements on the way. Sophomore forward Jamiya Neal is nearing a return from an injury that knocked him out of the team’s first five games.

“He looked pretty explosive in practice [Sunday],” Hurley said. “I would anticipate if he has another good day [Monday] and gets through shootaround, you could see him out there on Tuesday.”

The Sun Devils will enter Tuesday’s game against Grambling State (2-1) with reassurance that their 4-1 record is opening eyes. In the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, ASU received five votes.

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