Lob-U: ASU basketball powers past Washington in dunk-fest

Jan 8, 2023, 6:32 PM
Arizona State guard Desmond Cambridge Jr. (4) shoots between Washington forward Keion Brooks, forwa...

Arizona State guard Desmond Cambridge Jr. (4) shoots between Washington forward Keion Brooks, forward Jackson Grant, and guard Cole Bajema (22) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona State won 73-65. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

TEMPE — Arizona State basketball pushed past Washington with blocks, steals and alley-oops on Sunday in a 73-65 victory at Desert Financial Arena.

The Sun Devils (13-3, 4-1) outscored Washington 45-39 in the second half after UW closed the game on an 8-0 run in garbage time, and forward Devan Cambridge dominated the latter 20 minutes with 16 points on 10 shots, mostly dunks.

Cambridge dunked the ball seven times, several on lobs, and head coach Bobby Hurley gave his team a new moniker after the game.

“We’re kind of transitioning out of ‘Guard-U’ to ‘Lob-U,'” Hurley said. “That’s what it was looking like in the second half. Showcase of really good athleticism.”

UW’s zone gave ASU problems in the half court early on. The Sun Devils shot 27.8% from the field in the opening 20 minutes, settling for 3s and missing a few bunnies inside.

But ASU led at the break 28-26 and kept that defensive effort going in the second half.

Defense turned to offense, and better ball movement helped ASU push the pace in a much more effective offensive showing.

“It wasn’t only in the open court, Jamiya (Neal) had a couple (assists) against their zone, where we were able to get Devan on a cut in the back line,” Hurley said. “I know that there were a lot of assisted baskets and you’re always pleased to see that.”

In the second half, ASU had 14 assists on 19 field goals.

Hurley felt that ASU’s depth and defensive effort wore down Washington, which impacted its ability to get back in transition. Three steals and five blocks in the second half helped the Sun Devils push.

When the game’s tempo picked up, Cambridge was in his element. He said postgame he’d been waiting for a game like Sunday’s.

He went through a scoring stretch with two alley-oop dunks, a put-back jam through a foul, another alley-oop finish, a breakaway jam off a steal — which he said was his favorite — and yet another lob he threw down with gusto.

Hurley complimented the senior’s effort defensively and motor to run the floor to get transition opportunities.

Cambridge said he wished he did something even cooler on the breakaway but didn’t want to risk getting blocked.

“In a zone game I usually dunk like three or four times, and I was telling the team to look for the lobs and they found me today so I appreciate them for that,” Cambridge said.

“Can I get credit for half of those?” Neal asked having throw a pair of the lobs. “I went to Hillcrest (Prep), he went to Hillcrest, we have a connection. I’m like the third Cambridge brother.”

Hurley said Neal — who put together a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds — had his best game as a Sun Devil.

The sophomore scored 12 points in the first half to keep ASU afloat with the rest of the team struggling to score.

“Eleven defensive rebounds is huge for a guy who plays on perimeter, and so his activity level was really good,” Hurley said. “His defense was really good. The game kind of slowed down where it looked like he was his vision and his reads were very good on offense.”

The Sun Devils bounced back from back-to-back losses to San Francisco and Arizona with a sweep of the Washington schools this weekend.

The last time ASU started a season 13-3 was in 2017-18, and it hasn’t opened Pac-12 play 4-1 since 2007-08 when James Harden was on the team.


Desmond Cambridge Jr. surpassed the 2,000-career points mark on Sunday after scoring six with seven assists. He became the 10th active player in the NCAA with that milestone.


ASU visits Oregon (9-7, 3-2) on Thursday at 7 p.m.


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