Arizona State upsets No. 21 Washington State with a defensive masterclass

Feb 24, 2024, 10:05 PM | Updated: Feb 25, 2024, 12:17 pm

Washington State guard Myles Rice (2) struggles to get around Arizona State guard Frankie Collins (...

Washington State guard Myles Rice (2) struggles to get around Arizona State guard Frankie Collins (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

TEMPE — Arizona State men’s basketball pulled off a much-needed upset over No. 21 Washington State 73-61 on Saturday, defeating a ranked opponent for the first time this season.

The Sun Devils (14-14, 8-9) were dominant defensively. After defeating No. 5 Arizona only two days prior, the Cougars (21-7, 12-5) shot 17% from three, compared to 33% against the Wildcats. They only dropped three of their 18 attempts beyond the arc.

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley called this defensive performance one of the Sun Devils’ best this season.

“Our defense was up to the challenge tonight,” Hurley said. “I thought we stepped up in that regard, holding them to 3-of-18 from the three and making shots for Isaac Jones as difficult as possible.”

On offense, Bryant Selebangue and Alonzo Gaffney dominated the paint for the Sun Devils. The two combined for 20 points with all 11 of Gaffney’s points coming in the second half.

Frankie Collins (14) and Adam Miller (12) both reached double digits, with Miller knocking down two clutch threes in the last five minutes of the game.

Jose Perez stuffed up the stat sheet with a team-leading 16 points, his fifth-straight game reaching double digits. Perez referred to himself as a “good egg,” and said the rest of the team were also “good eggs” today.

“I feel like if I have a one-on-one matchup, it’s a nightmare,” Perez said.

A good start has been hard to come by for the Sun Devils as of late, but this game showed differently.

Collins and Jamiya Neal combined for 18 points in the first half to put the Sun Devils up seven points going into the break. Selebangue made his presence known down low early, finishing the first 20 minutes with six points and four rebounds.

This was the first time Arizona State held a lead after the first half since their 71-62 loss to Stanford on Feb. 1.

“We were talking about that a lot, making sure we come out early and coming out with energy,” Selebangue said. “That’s something that we’ve been capitalizing on more. Certain lineups work for certain rotations. This is something we’ve been figuring out over time and time, and it’s paying off right now.”

Selebangue continued to be a menace in the paint for the rest of the game, totaling seven rebounds including four on the offensive end of the floor.

Washington State came out flat. The Cougars turned the ball over nine times in the first half and had trouble finding their rhythm from three.

Despite the Cougars’ mishaps, they were within two inside of seven minutes remaining. The Sun Devils responded with a 9-0 run to stretch their lead to 11, putting the game out of reach.

Cougars forward Jaylen Wells, who is shooting over 45% from three on the season, was held to zero points in the second half.

“I think if we’re going to have success the rest of the way, we’re not going to do it with one guy,” Hurley said. “Any time that we seem to win, there’s four or five guys that are in double figures. We need that type of production in the box score– It really gets us energized.”

A rematch with No. 5 Arizona awaits on Wednesday in Tempe, the last time the Sun Devils play at home this season.

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