ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

Bobby Hurley points to defense, toughness as Arizona State’s identity

Dec 4, 2022, 6:00 AM | Updated: 8:13 am
Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley argues for a call in the first half of an NCAA college basket...

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley argues for a call in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Things you didn’t expect to hear the first week of December this college basketball season: Arizona State is 7-1 and received votes to be ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll.

After an impressive road 60-59 victory over Colorado on Thursday, ASU head coach Bobby Hurley and the Sun Devils start off the year 1-0 in conference play.

Hurley joined the NCAA’s Andy Katz to discuss the team filled with transfers hot start as well as a defense that ranks towards the top in the nation.

“(Our identity) is getting stops and relying on our defense,” Hurley told Katz.

“The consistency of our defense. I think metrics-wise and analytics-wise our defense is up there nationally with anyone.”

Hurley is not wrong, as the Sun Devils rank No. 5 nationally in opponent field goal percentage, No. 9 in three-point defense, No. 18 in defensive rebounds per game and No. 32 in scoring defense.

The Sun Devils head coach attributed much of the turnaround defensively to Michigan transfer guard Frankie Collins. He mentioned the active hands in passing lanes as well as the deflections he forces for the team.

Collins is averaging 12.9 points per game, 5.1 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals across seven games.

After finishing 14-17 in 2021-22, Hurley and Arizona State are off to a 7-1 start to the year. The Sun Devils did not get their seventh win of the year last season until Feb. 5 against UCLA.

They will take the court and look to take control of the Pac-12 against Washington State at 5 p.m. on Sunday at Desert Financial Arena.

Catch all the action on ESPN 620 AM and 98.7 FM HD-2.

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