It’s funny what a day can do for a team. The same can be said for a good old tough love type of practice courtesy of head coach Bobby Hurley. After losing a 17 point lead against Utah and ultimately losing the game Coach Hurley decided it was time to get his players attention.
Hurley got his players attention for sure.
After suffering back-to-back losses from Princeton and Utah, Hurley put his players through a tough practice. He then switched up the starting line up against the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday afternoon.
It worked like a charm.
Coach Hurley inserted Rob Edwards and De’Quon Lake into the Sun Devil line up and it brought a different energy to the Sun Devils. From the tip, Arizona State were playing free flowing, passing the ball, and rebounding with purpose.
Remy Martin and Luguentz Dort who normally start for the Sun Devils came into the game about 5:25 into the first half. At that point Arizona State was up 11-2 and already in control of the game.
The other part of this shake up was that the Sun Devils came out and played a zone defense. Something that Bobby Hurley said that he may show a little more often now.
The combination of a new starting line up and a new defense seemed to do the trick. ASU scored the games first eight points and never looked back.
“I wanted to mix things up. With Zylan, De’Quon, and Mello out there it really secures the back line of defense and I wanted to get off to a good start.” Hurley said.
On Thursday night the Sun Devils gave up 16 three pointers, but the Buffaloes only managed seven three pointers on Saturday afternoon. Colorado had difficulty all game putting the ball in the basket.
For the game, Colorado shot 33% from the field and 19% from the three point arc. Nothing dropped for the Buffaloes.
To add more salt to the wound the Sun Devils battered Colorado on the boards. The Sun Devils won the rebound challenge 42-28. ASU also forced 15 turnovers by Colorado.
This was a game that was exactly what the Sun Devils needed. Losing to Princeton and the conference opener to Utah was a shock to the system for Sun Devil fans.
Getting out in front early and controlling the game the rest of the way was something the Sun Devils needed to do. Many people consider Arizona State one of the top teams in the Pac-12 Conference. There is a bit of target on the Sun Devils back.
The Sun Devils know the target is there. They welcome the challenge.
Arizona State finished with six players in double figures. The eight man rotation that Hurley has settled into is something that he wants.
“We have eight guys that are going to get the minutes and it doesn’t really matter who starts.” Coach Hurley mentioned after the game.
The domination that was shown on Saturday afternoon by the Sun Devils is something that they will want to show moving forward.
I know it’s only the first weekend of conference play, but this was game that Arizona State had to have. Obviously you don’t want to start conference play 0-2. You can’t give up two games out of the gate.
ASU is 1-1 now in conference play and looking to start something special in the Pac-12.
Is this the start of a memorable season for Arizona State? We shall see.
Arizona State walked out of the gym with a dominating 83-61 win and next week they take this new found confidence to the Bay Area. The Sun Devils play at California on Thursday and at Stanford on Saturday.