Fork Report: Hurley ejected late, Sun Devils come up short against Wildcats

Jan 3, 2016, 4:17 PM | Updated: 10:28 pm
Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley, center, reacts toward an official after being called for a t...

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley, center, reacts toward an official after being called for a technical foul as Arizona State's Savon Goodman (11) and Kodi Justice watch during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona defeated Arizona State 94-82. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

The last two times the Sun Devils welcomed the Wildcats to Tempe, they sent Sean Miller’s team home empty-handed. That wasn’t the case on Sunday, but Arizona State certainly didn’t go down quietly.

The Devils opened Pac-12 play with their first loss in over three weeks, falling to Arizona by a final of 94-82 in front of 8,044 – including 22-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps – at Wells Fargo Arena. Tra Holder led all scorers with 24 points, while Gabe York paced U of A with 22.

Prior to today’s contest, ASU had won four straight, and seven of eight – with the lone loss coming in Lexington against John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats. They’re now 10-4 on the year.

Much like that game against Kentucky, this one slipped away from the Sun Devils in the second half. In fact, things looked good early on, as Savon Goodman returned after missing four games due to personal reasons and helped trigger an early 14-5 run that put the Sun Devils up 28-19 in the first half. The Wildcats responded with a 14-0 run of their own though, and carried a 41-35 lead into halftime.

That’s when the technical fouls began.

First up was U of A center Kaleb Tarczewski, who was called for his second foul with 16:36 remaining in the game, argued and was T’ed up at midcourt. Willie Atwood hit both free throws for ASU, then Eric Jacobsen got inside for a bucket on the ensuing possession to pull the Sun Devils to within five (48-43) again.

York took over just moments later, burying back-to-back threes from well beyond the arc to stretch the Wildcats’ lead back to double digits. ASU eventually saw the deficit widen to 76-60, but began to rally when Kodi Justice hit a three, drew a foul in the process and drained the free throw to complete the four-point play.

Bobby Hurley’s squad ultimately trimmed the lead to 81-75, but just couldn’t get any closer. And things boiled over late in the rally, when a few close calls went against the Devils in the waning moments. Hurley himself picked up a technical foul with 1:14 left, then another just a few moments later – exiting to cheers from a fired up crowd.

THE GOOD

-Goodman only managed two points, but his return after missing four consecutive games is a good sign for ASU going forward.

-Obinna Oleka continued to show progress, chipping in 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

-As a team, the Devils made all but three of the 19 free throws they attempted.

THE BAD

-Entering the game, ASU was outrebounding opponents by an average of 5.3 per game. It was U of A who came away with the advantage in that department today though, pulling down 37 boards to the Devils’ 30.

-Arizona State managed just 10 assists in the game, below their season average of 13.

STAT OF THE GAME

19: The number of free throws ASU attempted, compared to 36 by Arizona. The Devils ultimately made 84 percent of their attempts, while the Wildcats hit just 75 percent, but there was still an 11-point differential from the charity stripe when all was said and done. That proved costly.

HE SAID IT

“He fights for us. He wants us to play hard and he wishes he was out there on the court too so, you know, we try to get the fire from him because he really fights for us hard. We play for him hard and he just… he’s emotionally so into the game.” – Atwood, on the players’ reaction to Hurley’s ejection.

NOTED

-Eight of the nine ASU players who saw action grabbed at least one rebound, and seven of them managed to score.

UP NEXT

The Sun Devils continue their Pac-12 schedule with a pair of games in southern California this week. They’ll visit USC on Thursday, before squaring off with UCLA on Saturday.

The Trojans currently sit at 12-3 (1-1 in Pac-12 play), following an 87-85 loss to Washington on Sunday. Junior guard Katin Reinhardt leads USC in scoring, with 13.6 points per game this season.

ASU split with the Trojans last year, winning 64-59 on Feb. 22, then falling 67-64 in the Pac-12 Tournament.

The Sun Devils’ next home game will be Thursday, Jan. 14, when Washington State comes to town.

Penguin Air

Arizona Basketball

UCLA plays Oregon during a Pac-12 NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., ...
Arizona Sports

UCLA, USC to leave Pac-12 for Big Ten in 2024

UCLA and USC will be leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, beginning in the 2024-25 season, the two schools confirmed on Thursday evening.
1 day ago
Arizona Sports

Toronto Raptors take Arizona C Christian Koloko 33rd in NBA Draft

Christian Koloko gave the Wildcats three draft picks in the first 33 selections of the NBA Draft, as the Raptors plucked him off the board.
8 days ago
Dalen Terry #4 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts after hitting a a 3-pointer against the UCLA Bruins d...
Arizona Sports

Arizona basketball’s Dalen Terry drafted 18th by Bulls

Dalen Terry became the second Arizona Wildcats draftee to ship off to the midwest, heading to the Chicago Bulls.
8 days ago
Guard Bennedict Mathurin #0 of the Arizona Wildcats smiles on the sidelines during the game against...
Arizona Sports

Former Wildcat Bennedict Mathurin picked 6th by Indiana Pacers

Former Arizona Wildcat Bennedict Mathurin was selected by the Indiana Pacers with the sixth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
8 days ago
Bennedict Mathurin #0 of the Arizona Wildcats stands on the court during a game against the Wichita...
Arizona Sports

Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin cementing in top-10 of NBA mock drafts

Arizona's Bennedict Mathurin was mocked to the Pacers at No. 6 by both ESPN's Jonathan Givony and The Athletic's NBA staff Thursday morning.
8 days ago
Nikash Nath

Bennedict Mathurin rising in ESPN NBA mock a week out from draft

Former Arizona Wildcat Bennedict Mathurin is quietly approaching the top five of Jonathan Givony's latest NBA mock draft. 
13 days ago
Fork Report: Hurley ejected late, Sun Devils come up short against Wildcats