A year removed from a devastating first round exit in the 2023 NCAA Men’s Tournament, newly extended head coach Bobby Hurley comes into the 2023-24 season with not only a new mentality, but a fairly new team as well. Arizona State (1-1) has 11 new players on the roster, seven of which transferred to ASU Looking to capitalize off a momentous tournament appearance, the Sun Devils look to compete with a fierce Pac-12 conference for the final time.
Barstool Sports Invitational: Arizona State 53, Mississippi State 71
Arizona State men’s basketball season opened with a trip to Chicago to play in the second annual Barstool Sports Invitational against Mississippi State on Nov. 8 at Wintrust Arena. The Sun Devils fell to the Bulldogs in blowout fashion 71-53, after poor shooting saw Hurley’s team produce 18 points in the first half of play.
The early season rust was apparent for the Sun Devils as they continued to force shots, going 6 for 23 on field goals and 0 for 9 from 3-point range in the first half. The slow shooting dug Arizona State into a deficit they could not recover from despite outsourcing Mississippi State in the second half.
Sophomore guard Kamari Lands, a Louisville transfer, led the team in scoring with 13 points on a night with little flow or direction on the offensive side of the ball.
Arizona State 63, Texas Southern 52
In the second game of the year, the Sun Devils returned to Desert Financial Arena to battle Southwestern Athletic Conference opponent Texas Southern on Nov. 11. Behind a sturdy defensive effort from the Devils, ASU forced 19 turnovers en route to a 63-52 win and avoided an early trap game.
Of the 19 turnovers, 11 were steals, with graduate student forward Alonzo Gaffeny recording four. It was a difficult shooting night for Texas Southern as ASU forced tough shots and capitalized with 17 points off turnovers. The Tiger shot 5 for 29 from 3-point range.
An emphatic windmill dunk from junior guard Jamiya Neal put a Tiger defender on a poster towards the end of the first half.
Junior guard Frankie Collins paced the Sun Devils offense in all three categories with 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists on the first of many productive nights for the Sun Devils’ leader.
Arizona State will play UMass Lowell at 7:00 p.m. on Nov. 16 at Desert Financial Arena before traveling to Las Vegas to play in the Vegas Showdown at T-Mobile Arena on Thanksgiving Day against BYU.