The stats are not easy to look at. Arizona State shot at a 56 percent clip from the free throw line in Friday night's loss against Sacramento State, and their mark from three-point range was a horrid 11.8 percent. There were sloppy stretches where simple passes went uncaught, and poor execution on easy fast break opportunities.
When it boils down to it, basketball is a pretty simple game. If you shoot the ball decently and limit the amount of mental mistakes that are made, odds are you have a good shot at getting out with a win. The Sun Devils did neither against the Hornets, and they paid a costly price as a result.
"It is an embarrassing loss for us," said head coach Bobby Hurley after the game. "I thought we were nervous, and it became infectious and carried over into how we shot the ball throughout the course of the game."
While Sacramento State is definitely a tougher opponent than Western New Mexico, it did come as a bit of a surprise when the team came out so tight. It might have stemmed from the fact that the the maroon and gold departed from what they have been working on all offseason.
Rarely did the team get up and down in transition, instead opting for halfcourt sets that they looked convoluted and confused at times. They were still able to come away with decent shots for the majority of the game, but as you may have noticed from the stats above, not many of those shots went in the basket.
Obinna Oleka finished the night 0-for-3 from the field, with two of those shots not hitting the rim. Kodi Justice and Maurice O'Field combined for an 0-for-2 night, while starter Andre Spight ended up-1 of-8.
If those kind of stat lines pop up often throughout the season, this team will be in for a long year. But odds are, we will not see that poor of a shooting display again for a long, long time.
"We are all still learning," said center Eric Jacobsen when asked about taking the offense from practice into games. "But that is no excuse."
While this was certainly not an ideal start to the Hurley era, the issues on Friday should be easily fixable. The team will get more comfortable as they get more games under their belt in Hurley's system, and the long stretches of ice cold shooting should stop at the same time.
"Obviously, any time you shoot that way from the free throw line, you're not going to have very much success no matter who you're opponent is," said Hurley.
We don't know if this loss will end up being a blessing in disguise, but it should at the very least provide a wake up call for the Sun Devils. One game in the books, and they came out of it with a bitter taste in their mouths.
As long as they get back to the basics and do the simple things correctly, that taste should be gone shortly.