ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

Arizona State men’s basketball crushed at home by Cal on Saturday

Feb 3, 2024, 4:47 PM

ASU head coaches Bobby Hurley watches warmups prior to a game earlier this season....

Head coach Bobby Hurley of the Arizona State Sun Devils watches warm ups before the NCAAB game against the USC Trojans at Desert Financial Arena on January 20, 2024 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

TEMPE – Arizona State men’s basketball struggled mightily on Saturday, losing to Cal for the Sun Devils’ fourth loss in a row.

ASU, now at .500 on the season at 11-11 and below .500 in Pac-12 play at 5-6, did not play the strong defense that has been its identity this season. The Sun Devils also struggled on offense, something that has been an issue all season long.

Cal lit up the Sun Devil defense, especially in the first half. The Golden Bears (9-13, 5-6 Pac-12) shot 13-of-26 (50%) from the field and 7-of-13 (53.8%) from 3-point territory in the first half. For the game, they shot 27-54 (50%) from the field and 11-22 (50%) from three. ASU fouled Cal 16 times and the Golden Bears were able to knock down 16-of-19 free throws (84.2%).

ASU forward Alonzo Gaffney discussed the team’s defensive struggles in the first half.

“The effort wasn’t there in the first half from a defensive standpoint – defending the 3-point line,” Gaffney said. “We just got to be better.”

On offense, the Sun Devils put up many contested shots throughout the game. They especially struggled early on, digging themselves into a hole they could not find their way out of.

ASU never led the entire afternoon. The Sun Devils went down 3-0 on a Cal three with 19:14 left in the first half and the Golden Bears never looked back. Cal led by as many as 21 points in the second half.

The game was not just ASU’s fourth loss in a row. It was the Sun Devils’ sixth loss in their last seven games. Their only win in their last seven was against a depleted USC team on Jan. 20. They have gone from playing Oregon on Jan. 25 to remain at the top of the Pac-12 to being in the bottom half of the conference standings. Stacking losses in conference play is especially damaging to the Sun Devils due to how they played in the non-conference portion of their schedule. ASU played to a 6-5 record in non-conference play.

“It’s not great, considering the way we started, that we’re sitting where we are right now but it’s not in my makeup to quit,” said ASU head coach Bobby Hurley. “That’s not what I’ve done my whole life so if that’s what they’re looking for from their leader, then they’re not going to get that. We’re just going to look at each individual game and see how we could try and turn this around but it has come full circle back to the same things that haunted us in some of our non-conference games.”

Perez benched for second half

ASU starting guard and second-leading scorer Jose Perez did not play in the second half of Saturday’s game due to what Hurley called a “coach’s decision.”

“It’s what I had to do for that half to try and see if we could climb back in the game,” Hurley said.

Up Next

ASU travels to Colorado on Thursday. The game is at 6 p.m. and cane be heard on ESPN 620 AM, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.

 

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