The Sun Devils were able to hold their own in the beginning against a talented Purdue team with plenty of height down low, which ASU lacks, before going on to lose 97-64.
Purdue jumped out to an early lead after two quick turnovers from ASU center Jethro Tshisumpa. The 6-foot-10 freshman was a last-minute add to the Sun Devils’ starting line up by ASU head coach Bobby Hurley, who was doing his best to compete with the Boilermakers’ height.
ASU was able to hold its own for the first few minutes of the game.
The Sun Devils got an early game spark from a monster alley-oop connection between ASU junior guard Shannon Evans and senior forward Obinna Oleka, tying the game 4-4.
After shooting 45 percent from the field over the first five minutes of the game; however, the early spark was not enough to keep the Devils in the game long term.
“I thought we competed for about eight minutes,” said Hurley.
Purdue then seemed to blow the game open after going on a 26-2 run in the middle of the first half. The Devils were down 35-12 with 5:47 to go in the half.
After continuing to struggle throughout the remainder of the first half, the Sun Devils went into the locker room down 47-21, having only made one 3-pointer.
Purdue found its offensive stride quickly and never looked back. The Boilermakers shot 58 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc through the first 20 minutes.
Over the next 20 minutes, it was the same story, just a different half. ASU continued to struggle offensively, and it showed in its defensive efforts while Purdue took advantage.
The Boilermakers seemed to not miss a beat after the halftime break, scoring two quick baskets.
Purdue continued to show no mercy for ASU, not taking its foot off the gas amidst nailing eight 3-point shots in the second half.
“Things definitely went in our favor, as far as shooting goes,” said Purdue head coach Matt Painter.
The dismal shooting night caused Hurley to burn through his timeouts. He took his final time out with 6:45 remaining in the game, with the Sun Devils down 79-38.
The Sun Devils finished the night shooting 35 percent from the field, making 4 of 26 shots from behind the arc. In their last game against UNLV, which ASU won, the Sun Devils tied a school record, making 18 3-pointers.
“So much of our identity is shot-making,” Hurley said. “It affected how we defended and how we continued to compete.”
The Boilermakers shot 59 percent from the field and made 15 of 27 shots from deep.
To no surprise, Purdue was able to out rebound the Sun Devils 44-28, even though both teams grabbed 13 offensive boards.
Six Purdue players finished in double figures, while Sam Cunliffe, Torian Graham and Kodi Justice finished in double figures for ASU.
“Right now we’re a soft team. We don’t have any backbone,” Hurley said. “Its unfortunate that our team didn’t come close to the energy Jimmy had in his life and his passion for playing. We did a disservice to this game this event and what he represented.”