Arizona State searching for answers after near-comeback against Washington

Feb 22, 2024, 11:39 PM | Updated: 11:50 pm

Head coach Bobby Hurley of the Arizona State Sun Devils. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...

Head coach Bobby Hurley of the Arizona State Sun Devils. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

TEMPE — Arizona State men’s basketball fell to Washington 84-82 in Tempe on Thursday, nearly accomplishing a historic comeback on an already historic night.

ASU point guard Frankie Collins capped off a 25-point comeback in the second half by grabbing his third steal of the night, enough to give him the all-time single-season steals record in program history with 77, all while sending the game into overtime on a layup in the final seconds of regulation.

The Sun Devils came up short in the end, losing the extra period 9-7, and coach Bobby Hurley said it was an overtime that ASU had no right to be in anyway.

“That game had no business going into overtime the way we played for (23) minutes, but somehow we were there,” Hurley said. “We deserved to lose.”

Regardless of whether they deserved to be there or not, the Sun Devils played well enough in overtime to give themselves a shot at the end, but Shawn Phillips Jr. couldn’t get the game’s final shot to go down.

Collins, who led the team with 21 points on the night, fouled out early in overtime. Hurley called his departure “unfortunate” after Collins found an offensive rhythm, scoring 19 of his 21 in the second half.

“I think the world of Frankie. He’s in a very select company with me in regards to how I view him and what I think of him,” Hurley said. “But for us to win any games the rest of the way, he’s gotta play better and he’s gotta lead our team better …

“And that’s a big responsibility to take on. It’s not easy. You’re gonna have to go outside of yourself and do more than just play and worry about your own game. You’re in charge of whether we’re ready to play or not … He needs to set the tone all the time. If he doesn’t, then we’re gonna have very little chance to win much going forward.”

While Collins was key in forcing overtime and completing the comeback, his backups were behind the start of it after Hurley pulled a full line substitution early in the second half when the Washington lead peaked at 25.

The group — which included a rare early sighting of walk-on guard Bobby Hurley Jr. — rattled off a 14-2 run, including three 3s from Kamari Lands. The crowd in Tempe took notice and was a driving factor in ASU sustaining a much better second half.

“Our crowd is not that demanding. They ask for you to give maximum effort, and if they see you giving maximum effort, they’re not gonna have a problem with you,” Hurley said. “They noticed that that second unit was out there fighting and battling, and that was really the difference.”

For most of the first half and the start of the second, Arizona State put forth the opposite type of effort, even coming off a historic loss in Tucson last Saturday.

“That’s my fault, because if I can’t get them motivated to play — when we’re playing a game on ESPN and with a good crowd — it’s my fault. I’m the one who’s responsible,” Hurley said. “I have to answer that, I’m not getting through to the team.”

Jose Perez (15 points), Adam Miller (14) and Lands (11) joined Collins in double-figure scoring for ASU (13-14, 7-9), although Perez came up empty at the line late when it mattered most.

On the Huskies’ (15-12, 7-9) side, Keion Brooks Jr. matched Collins’ 21 points but it was 7-foot-1, 250-pound Braxton Meah who was causing problems for ASU, finishing with 13 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks.

For Hurley and his coaching staff, another tall task is ahead of this team following two different types of setbacks.

A matchup with No. 21 Washington State is right around the corner on Saturday, and the Cougars just knocked off Arizona at McKale Center.

Arizona State Basketball

Frankie Collins spearheaded ASU's defense with six first half steals in a win against USC on Jan. 2...

David Veenstra

Former Arizona State basketball guard Frankie Collins reportedly commits to TCU

Former Arizona State guard Frankie Collins has committed to TCU. Collins has one year of eligibility remaining.

2 days ago

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley and assistant Jermaine Kimbrough...

Arizona Sports

Grand Canyon hires Bobby Hurley’s top Arizona State assistant, Jermaine Kimbrough

Arizona State assistant coach Jermaine Kimbrough has departed Bobby Hurley's staff and joined nearby Grand Canyon head coach Bryce Drew.

3 days ago

Bobby Hurley claps during a game...

Arizona Sports

Former Ball State leader Basheer Jihad commits to ASU, Bryant Selebangue in portal

Former Ball State Cardinals forward Basheer Jihad has committed to the Arizona State Sun Devils men's basketball program.

4 days ago

South Carolina celebrates winning an NCAA Championship...

Associated Press

NCAA women’s title between South Carolina, Iowa was most-watched hoops game in 5 years

South Carolina's victory over Iowa in the women's NCAA championship game had a preliminary audience average of 18.7 million on ABC and ESPN.

6 days ago

UConn wins 2024 National Championship...

Bailey Leasure

UConn becomes 1st back-to-back national champion since 2007 with win over Purdue

UConn defeated Purdue to win its sixth championship in program history Monday at State Farm Stadium.

6 days ago

Zach Edey...

Arizona Sports

Zach Edey keeps Purdue in championship game against UConn

Purdue star Zach Edey led both teams in scoring with a 37-point output in the national championship game as UConn won its second in a row.

6 days ago

Arizona State searching for answers after near-comeback against Washington