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ASU Basketball: No. 18 Sun Devils upset by Vanderbilt

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The Commodores shut down ASU’s offense

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley has prided himself on challenging his teams early in the season. They went unbeaten last season outside the Pac-12 in 2018.

Part of that difficult schedule will include nights where the team plays flat. After overcoming a large deficit to knock off Georgia, the same formula was unattainable 48 hours later.

The No. 18 Arizona State Sun Devils (8-2) fell to the Vanderbilt Commodores (7-2) 81-65, Monday night in Nashville.

Vanderbilt picks up a signature win against a ranked opponent, as the Sun Devils settle for a split in their SEC road trip.

ASU’s normally potent offense was held in check throughout the game as they were unable to discover any offensive rhythm. As a team, Arizona State shot a season worst 32.3 percent and an especially lackluster 29.2 percent from three-point distance.

The Sun Devils burst out to a 9-0 run to begin the game forcing Vanderbilt head coach Bryce Drew to call timeout in attempt to rally his squad. The Commodores answered the bell for the remainder of the contest overwhelming ASU.

The difference was stunning. Vanderbilt shot the lights out from three-point distance, they began the night 2-for-11 from deep but finished 9-for-16 as they extended their lead comfortably into double digits.

The balance of scoring was highly impressive as five of Vanderbilt’s nine rotation players scored at least 11 points, the ball movement was exceptional as the Commodores were passing up good looks for great ones.

Phoenix native, sophomore guard Saben Lee led Vanderbilt in scoring with 14 points he also corralled five rebounds and dished three assists. The Corona Del Sol alum was facilitating the offense and went 9-for-12 from the free throw line to put the game on ice.

Freshman forward Aaron Nesmith put together a strong performance off the bench for the Commodores, scoring 13 points and grabbing five rebounds while making three of five shots from deep.

ASU freshman guard Luguentz Dort once again struggled to score on the road, finishing with 10 points on an inefficient 3-for-13 from the field. Senior forward Zylan Cheatham brought down 14 rebounds in the loss and scored nine points as he again fell just shy of a double-double.

Lost in a lot of the bad tonight for the Sun Devils was a strong performance from sophomore guard Rob Edwards. Once again coming off the bench, Edwards led the team in scoring with 14 as he was able to get quality looks all game.

Edwards hadn’t looked comfortable in the offense, but playing in his third game since re-injuring himself in the season opener he finally found himself.

With ASU lacking a true long-distance scorer, continued production from Edwards could alleviate pressure from the trio of Dort, Cheatham and sophomore guard Remy Martin.

Arizona State now turns their attention to the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks, who come to Wells Fargo Arena seeking revenge. ASU upset KU last season in Lawrence in one of the more improbable victories in program history. The Jayhawks enter the matchup with a 9-0 record, with three of those coming against ranked opponents.