Arizona State basketball looking for redemption in rematch with Arizona

Feb 27, 2024, 8:53 PM

Jamiya Neal, Sun Devils...

Jamiya Neal scored a career-high 21 points as the Sun Devils blew out the Beavers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

TEMPE — Ahead of a rematch on Wednesday, the 45-point loss to No. 6 Arizona less than two weeks ago is fresh on the minds of Arizona State men’s basketball.

“You don’t forget a loss like that. It’s humiliating, it’s embarrassing,” Jamiya Neal said. “We have to go out there and try to do better. We’re at home, so that’s going to help us, and we have our crowd with us. It’s also a big rivalry so everybody’s going to be hyped. And on top of how we lost last time, it should spark some fire under us.”

The Wildcats caused headaches in the paint for the Sun Devils in their previous matchup, outrebounding ASU 46-28 and scoring 52 of their 105 points in the paint.

“We have to try to swarm the paint because they’re bigger than us, and they know that,” Neal said. “They’re gonna try to attack that paint. They’re gonna try to get (out in) transition, so we have to try to regulate them.”

Wildcat center Oumar Ballo had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds against the Sun Devils. It was his seventh straight double-double.

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley praised Ballo for baiting players to foul in the paint and using his athletic frame to consistently put the Sun Devils in compromising situations under the basket.

The Sun Devils also allowed big nights from unusual sources. For example, Jaden Bradley scored 21 points off the bench for the Wildcats, his most in an Arizona uniform since transferring from Alabama last offseason.

“You’re going to give some things up, unfortunately, to guys like Ballo and Caleb Love,” Hurley said. “You got to try and contain so many guys that, maybe over the course of the whole season, have not had those types of stats. For a guy like (Bradley) to be coming off the bench shows you what an impressive group of players Arizona has put together.”

Arizona State is coming off arguably its biggest win of the season against then-No. 21 Washington State last Saturday, a game the Sun Devils dominated defensively.

Washington State defeated Arizona at McKale Center two days before, giving the Wildcats their first loss in Tucson this season. The Wildcats bounced back with a 91-75 win over Washington on Saturday.

The Sun Devils will welcome the Wildcats into Desert Financial Arena hoping for their own bounce back.

“We have to be more consistent,” Neal said. “We can’t be two different teams in one game. That’s what we’ve been a few times this year, having a good first half and then not having a good second half or having these two-to-three-minute lapses where we can’t score. We must be consistent and try to do the things that work.”

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