ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley calls for effort guys ‘who want to go all-out all the time’

Jan 23, 2023, 8:40 PM | Updated: 8:54 pm

Frankie Colllins and Bobby Hurley...

Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley, right, and guard Frankie Collins pause near the team bench during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Southern California in Tempe, Ariz., Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona State men’s hoops has been out of sorts on the defensive end of the floor the last two times out.

Over the last two games — a 74-62 loss to then-No. 5 UCLA and a 77-69 defeat to USC — the Sun Devils allowed 75.7 points on 49.5% shooting, including 40.6% from three-point range and 85.7% from the free throw line.

Compare that to Arizona State’s first 18 contests of the season in which it allowed an average of 65.6 points on 37.7% shooting, including 31.2% from deep and 69.1% from the charity stripe.

And in Saturday night’s defeat to USC at Desert Financial Arena, ASU head coach Bobby Hurley voiced his concern over his team’s effort — or lack thereof.

“We’ve been fighters all year, so it’s very hard to watch that because that’s not — again, it’s like watching an entirely different team and you’re not watching who you’ve seen most of the season,” he said postgame. “So I’m going to have to get after it in the film and see where all the mistakes were and try to correct them and try to get guys on the floor who want to go all-out all the time because that’s kind of who we are.

“I’m keeping everything in perspective too because we’re 15-5 and 6-3 in the league. Although these last couple days are disappointing, we’ve still put ourselves in a strong position. We just have to put ourselves back out there and start winning games again.”

One player in Saturday night’s contest, Sun Devils guard D.J. Horne, had a very uncharacteristic game for the junior.

Horne played just 17 minutes and failed to score a single point on 0-of-5 shooting from the field, including 0-for-1 from three-point range. He did have one assist, but also had two turnovers and two personal fouls.

“D.J. had just kind of a blank expression,” Hurley said after the game of Horne’s body language. “Never really was fully engaged in the game so I can’t — I’ve seen him where I’ve had to calm him down because sometimes his emotions, he gets too emotional. It’s rare that I take him out of the game. Again, he’d have to tell you his thoughts on that, but that’s what I saw.”

This season, Horne is averaging 10.6 points on 33.2% shooting, including 29% from deep to go along with 3.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals over 28.7 minutes per game.

Arizona State has 11 regular-season games remaining on the docket, four of which are at home against both the Oregon schools, as well as Colorado and Stanford. The remaining seven are all on the road, with the final three games being at No. 6 Arizona, No. 8 UCLA and USC — the only three Pac-12 teams to defeat ASU this year.

If Hurley and Co. hope to make the NCAA Tournament, the Sun Devils will have to unlock the mentality that their head coach used himself to win back-to-back national titles (1991-92) and the Final Four Most Outstanding Player (1992).

“I think the reason I’ve connected so much with this team and this group is because we’ve had some guys who weren’t recruited heavily, who were overlooked, who play with a chip on their shoulder — and we certainly didn’t have a chip on our shoulder (Saturday).

“We didn’t and that’s why I really appreciate this team so much because of how hard they’ve competed and get after it and that’s why so many people have enjoyed watching us play this year, but not (Saturday night).”

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