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ASU Basketball: Utah blows past Sun Devils in regular season finale

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That was a tough one

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Utah Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Any chance for the Arizona State Sun Devils (10-13, 7-10 Pac-12) to build momentum into the Pac-12 Tournament was flushed away by the Utah Utes (11-12, 8-11) on Saturday. Offensively and defensively, nothing was pretty for ASU in its 98-59 loss in Salt Lake City.

“It’s going to be hard to see, you’ve got to pick the pieces up. It wasn’t a fun locker room for these guys at halftime,” coach Bobby Hurley said. “We almost had no warm-up, which is pretty unusual. We said a lot of things. We spent a lot more time talking after. We’ll see what our response will be this week in practice and who is going to be available is another issue when we go.

“I’ve had games as a player where I lost by 25 in the ACC Championship to North Carolina my sophomore year and we never lost again. We won six in a row. It’s a game. It’s not a great performance, but we’ve got to turn the page and get back to work on Monday.”

The two teams battled for most of the first half, but the second half was basically competitive.

Utah outscored the Sun Devils by 26 in the final half of the game. Arizona State only scored four points in the first six minutes of the second half, while the Utes stretched their lead out to 28 points.

Five different players on Utah scored in the double-digits. As a team, the Utes shot nearly 60 percent from the field compared to Arizona State’s 37.5 percent.

Alonzo Verge and Holland Woods tried to carry the weight on offense, as each scored 13 points, but it was not nearly enough on Saturday.

One of the strangest parts to the loss was Remy Martin’s lack of contributions to the offense.

The Pac-12’s leading scorer coming into Saturday didn’t attack from much in the first half as he only attempted one shot. Martin finished the game with eight points and shot seven times.

“He hasn’t been in a good place the last two games,” Hurley said. “He hasn’t been in a good rhythm, so we got to find a way to get him more connected to the game and get him going. That’ll be my job the next couple of days and he was on such a tear when he had those eight straight 20-point games. He’s had two subpar offensive games for him, but hey, man, he’s carried us through the valley when things were not going great. He’s entitled to not being at his best, but we’ll try to get him right heading to Vegas.”

Arizona State returns to action on Wednesday to start the Pac-12 Tournament but won’t know its seeding until Sunday night.

Side Note: Rashon Burno accepts head coaching position at Northern Illinois

Multiple reports came out Saturday morning that Arizona State associate head coach Rashon Burno had agreed to take the Northern Illinois head coaching position.

The school later confirmed it. Burno joined Arizona State’s staff back in 2015 before being elevated to to associate head coach.

“First of all, nothing really is going to dampen my happiness and perspective for coach Burno right now. That game, after I just addressed the team, as far as I’m concerned, it is out of my mind and out of my system,” Hurley said. “So we can continue to talk about it and we will, but I am so proud and I’ve been so fortunate to spend six great years with coach Burno and his family. And what a job he’s done for this program and being such a significant part of, again, three 20-win seasons, NCAA Tournament appearances and puts his heart and soul into his job. Northern Illinois is very blessed and very fortunate to have him leading their program. I’m so proud of him, I’m so happy for him and his family and he’s going to be a major success at Northern Illinois.”