Arizona State basketball trending up ahead of Oregon State game

Feb 14, 2024, 7:56 AM

Arizona State guard Frankie Collins, front left, pulls in the ball after Arizona State guard Jose P...

Arizona State guard Frankie Collins, front left, pulls in the ball after Arizona State guard Jose Perez, front center, lost control of it while battling with Colorado center Eddie Lampkin Jr. (44) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

TEMPE — Arizona State basketball had the bounce-back it needed Saturday in an 85-77 victory over Utah, but head coach Bobby Hurley is urging the team to play like that Wednesday against Oregon State and consistently throughout the rest of the season.

“We desperately needed to play that way,” Hurley said. “We have to bottle it and try to replicate it as many times as we can moving forward. It was a very good balance on offense.”

Jose Perez continued terrorizing the Utes on Saturday, scoring a team-high 21 points after a 26-point performance against them on Jan. 4 in Tempe.

That’s not only the positive trend moving forward.

Arizona State’s Frankie Collins closes in on school’s steals record

Frankie Collins is closing in on the ASU single-season steals record, held at 76 by Fat Lever in the 1981-1982 season. His tally sits at 72.

Collins had six steals the last time Oregon State played ASU, so it isn’t farfetched for the record to be broken on Wednesday. If not, he will have the opportunity to break it against Arizona in Tucson on Saturday.

However, Collins is aiming higher. He wants to become the fifth player in Pac-12 history to have 100 steals, joining company such as Cal’s Jason Kidd and Oregon State’s Gary Payton.

ASU has seven games left, meaning Collins will have to average 4.0 steals per game from here on out to hit triple-digits. So far this season, he’s at 3.0 per game and tied for second in the country.

“I’m pretty close, and I know where I’m at, but I’m not out there chasing it,” Collins said. “If I could get 100, that would be huge. Because I also saw Kidd was up there. That’d be some good company.”

Adam Miller breaks out of slump

Adam Miller’s shooting slump has passed, as he had 16 points off the bench in his second straight game with more than 10 points.

It’s been an up-and-down season for Miller. The redshirt junior could not start the season with the Sun Devils because his move from LSU was his second transfer before graduating.

The NCAA had to approve Miller’s waiver to make him eligible for the remaining games on ASU’s schedule.

Miller’s waiver was denied, Hurley announced early in December. Still, due to a ruling by a federal judge later in that month, Miller and other multi-time transfers were granted eligibility for the rest of the 2023-24 academic year.

Miller dropped 20 points in his debut against TCU on Dec. 16 and proceeded to tally up double-digit scoring numbers in six of his first eight games.

However, Miller’s offensive production dipped during the Sun Devils’ recent five-game losing streak.

The guard scored only two points in ASU’s 81-66 loss to Cal and was 0-for-7 from the field against Oregon State on Jan. 27.

In ASU’s 82-70 loss against Colorado last Thursday, Miller became a sharpshooter again by scoring 14 points while shooting 71.4% from the field. A few days later, in ASU’s win over Utah, Hurley asked Miller to come off the bench for strategic reasons. Miller then had arguably one of his best games of the season, helping snap the Sun Devils’ five-game skid.

“It provided a real spark having a player of his capabilities off the bench,” Hurley said. “It’s going to be somewhat of a revolving door of sacrifice because with certain rotations that I need to have on the floor with certain player combinations, Adam needed to come off the bench in the last game.”

Hurley said Miller will be back in the starting lineup in Wednesday’s contest versus Oregon State.

Oregon State snap-shot

ASU, which is 12-12 on the season, will look to get revenge on the Beavers after losing 84-71 in Corvallis on Jan. 27.

Oregon State shot 56.5% from the field in that game and had 49 free-throw attempts. Sophomore guard Jordan Pope had 19 points and has been hailed as one of the best point guards in the conference.

“If you watch the tape, Oregon State had way too much fun when they played us. They were smiling and laughing,” Collins said. “I think teams shouldn’t have fun when they play us because we should be a team that’s playing hard and making things hard for the other team.”

The Sun Devils then head to McKale Center on Saturday to play against Arizona for the first time this season. It will be one of their most challenging games of the season, as the Wildcats jumped back into the AP top 5 this week.

“I think there’s just so much ahead that we could still play for,” Collins said. “We have to try to build momentum and get some wins before the Pac-12 Tournament and carry that over because, at the end of the day, college basketball is all about just getting hot at the perfect time.”

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