Getting stuck in a rut is a part of life nobody enjoys. When things don’t go your way, most people press, and try to force things back into place.
Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley saw his team’s two-game skid as an opportunity to try something new. It was a fairly drastic change, pulling freshman Luguentz Dort and sophomore Remy Martin from the starting lineup.
In their place, sophomore Rob Edwards and senior De’Quon Lake started, giving ASU more size and a more reliable outside shooter. The results were instantaneous, and made Hurley look brilliant.
The Sun Devils’ length completely shutdown Colorado’s offensive attack. In the first 4:35 of the game, CU shot 0-of-7 from the floor, turned the ball over once and couldn’t get anything going.
Before they knew what had hit them, the Buffaloes trailed 11-2 and unlike recent games there was no comeback afoot. ASU (10-4, 1-1) coasted to a 83-61 victory Saturday afternoon in Tempe.
“We rebounded from the first game on Thursday,” Hurley said. “I just like how we moved the basketball, the decision making for the most part and the assist totals were excellent. A lot of positives from this.”
Hurley made it known that the starting lineup used tonight might not be the same they throw out when they play the California Golden Bears Wednesday night in Berkley. He believes that every player he uses in his eight man rotation is capable of starting, and they will be utilized in a variety of fashions.
“I thought we needed to do something to shake things up a little bit,” Hurley said. “We needed to change some things and just be better in certain key areas in decision making and understanding game management.”
Arizona State responded to their head coach’s message after two bad games and a brutal practice. Turning in a performance that looked like a team that was capable of winning the conference and accomplishing things in postseason play.
Colorado opened the game with a zone defense that was easily solved by ASU. The Sun Devils had no issues passing to the high post and getting high percentage looks for their bigs.
Sophomore forward Romello White scored 19 points on an impressive 9-of-11 shooting line, and his fellow big man Lake added 12 of his own on 5-of-6 from the field. The duo were tremendous playing together at the outset, and enjoyed sharing the floor.
“We have more lift when we’re both out there,” said White. “It’s a disadvantage (for their opponents) if the four has to guard me. We play with each other and we just play well together. When we were in the zone (defense) it was hard for them to score because we were so long.”
The zone defense was another new wrinkle that worked well for ASU. Typically a strict man-to-man defense, the Sun Devils bothered Colorado’s offense by not allowing them open opportunities.
CU’s leading scorers sophomore guard McKinley Wright IV and junior forward Lucas Siewert were both completely shut down on the offensive end of the floor. Wright IV managed just 12 points on a 3-of-9 line, and Siewert was held to three total points on an abysmal 1-of-9 from the field.
Arizona State also did a great job of getting the whole rotation involved in the offense. Five players scored in double figures, and every field goal scored in the second half was off of an assist.
It was the team’s best performance of the season coming off back-to-back clunkers.
“This was the first game I feel like we put 40 minutes together as a team,” said White. “Everybody did their part, everybody played good defense and I feel like we did this together.”