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ASU Basketball: New-look Sun Devils gives positive first-impression in 102-34 blowout over Western New Mexico

The Arizona State Sun Devils played their first exhibition game in five seasons Saturday, and it was the first time fans were able to get a look at the new and improved program under Bobby Hurley.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State Sun Devils blew out Western New Mexico 102-34 in its exhibition game Saturday in Wells Fargo Arena.

With Saturday being a tune-up for the Sun Devils' season opener on Friday against Sacramento State, Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley didn't want to reveal much of his offensive sets, but still was impressed by his team's performance.

"We had a good effort today defensively, really solid start and the numbers support that," Hurley said.  "And we are having a really good balance. A lot of the things that I've been seeing throughout the practices so far is carrying over to the floor and a lot of guys are playing well and playing unselfishly. Twenty assists in the game is a really good number for us and we're happy about a lot of the things that went on today."

Junior transfer and forward Obinna Oleka led the way for the Sun Devils with a double-double that amounted to 18 points and 12 rebounds.

ASU fans were able to get their first real look at this new team as one cohesive unit Saturday and overall Bobby Hurley's Sun Devils showed improvement all around the court.

Forward Willie Atwood, a Sun Devil that was quiet from the floor last season, had a big first half for the Sun Devils, accumulating ten points and three offensive and defensive rebounds a piece. The Sun Devils grabbed eight off the offensive glass in the first half and outrebounded WNMU 62-28 on the night.

"We talked about the fact that we need to be aggressive and go for the offensive glass and we're going to need to do that consistently," Hurley said. "They're not the biggest team either so it made sense for our team to crash hard."

Junior college transfer and wing Andre Spight saw a lot of minutes Saturday and got the start for ASU aside Atwood, guard Gerry Blakes, center Eric Jacobsen and guard Tra Holder.  Spight finished the game with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals to catalyze this Sun Devil offense.

"Andre Spight looked sharp in his minutes tonight," Hurley said. "He was very efficient and he had some foul issues and hopefully he'll learn from that because picking up two fouls early in a half isn't a great thing so we talked about that with him."

The baskets came early and often and wouldn't let up for the entire game. Five players each had knocked down a three by halftime and they finished the contest with seven three's and a 54.7 field goal percentage The Mustangs couldn't find the basket for the last twelve minutes of the half and The Sun Devils went into the locker room up 54-8 at halftime.

Guard Kodi Justice rotated in for Blakes at shooting guard and found his stride from the perimeter all night. Justice knocked down 12 points on the night, half of them from behind the arc.

Oleka and sophomore transfer Maurice O'Field both saw some time on the court Saturday behind Atwood and Holder respectively. Last season, ASU had to utilize its speed to account for its smaller size. This season, ASU looks like it will have a lot more versatility with whom it will be able to guard. When both bench players were on the court alongside Jacobsen, Justice and Blakes, no player was under 6-foot-five.

"My goal for Obinna Oleka and Maurice O'Field was just to get them more minutes and more knowledge and they are coming from junior college and haven't been at the Division I level so it was good to get them more playing time tonight," Hurley said.

The second half played out much like the first. ASU could not miss their shots and WNMU could not maintain possession for more than a minute.

The Sun Devils had nearly double the amount of rebounds that WNMU had points and the Mustangs were just unable to catch ASU all night.

"We're a very unselfish team," Blakes said. "We like to pass the ball around and let everybody get touches so I feel like we did a great job getting the new guys acclimated and getting their feet wet a little bit."