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ASU Men’s Basketball: Sun Devils fall to TCU after technical fouls lead to 2nd half implosion

Arizona State drops to 6-4 after an ugly 2nd half

Arizona State v Arizona Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

FORT WORTH, Texas. – In last year’s NCAA Tournament, it was TCU (8-1) that ended the improbable run to the big dance for Arizona State (6-3) as the close-fought 72-20 game went the way of the Horned Frogs. Emotions ran wild in a tournament game with season-ending implications for both teams.

A season later, in a non-conference regular season game, emotions ran wild again for head coach Bobby Hurley and the Sun Devils.

Arizona State v Mississippi State
Head coach Bobby Hurley was animated in Saturday’s 79-59 loss against TCU.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The future Big 12 opponents squared off again in Fort Worth on a neutral court in the USLBM Coast-to-Coast Challenge with TCU’s Micah Peavy recording the third triple-double in program history. The Horned Frogs gave the Sun Devils a 20-point thumping and scored 53 points in the second half to beat Arizona State 79-59.

Sun Devil fans marked this game on their calendars as the debut game for LSU transfer guard Adam Miller as he was granted eligibility earlier in the week. Miller cracked the starting lineup, which featured four guards and a forward.

Perhaps the only bright spot for the Sun Devils on the night was indeed Miller, who scored a team-high 20 points, going 5 for 9 on field goals and 3 for 9 from 3-point range. He also sunk all seven of his free-throw attempts.

With a miraculous three-point lead at halftime, ASU needed to take firm control over the game like they had just minutes before they stumbled into the locker room. At one point, Arizona State led by as many as 11 points.

Technical fouls became the cracks in the dam for the Sun Devils as they could not stop the flow of TCU in the second half.

At the 13:25 mark in the second and ASU leading by one, forward Alonzo Gaffney headed to the bench with four fouls. He remained on the bench as a referee proceeded to assess a technical foul to Gaffney, giving him his fifth foul and ending his night.

Hurley had some choice words for the officiating crew as players and coaches pleaded with the Sun Devils’ leader. Hurley was assessed a technical foul as well and gave the Horned Frogs four technical foul shots.

The game flipped on its head from that point.

The technical foul fiasco was costly for Arizona State as TCU capitalized on a frustrated ASU team that then turned ice-cold on offense. In the 10 minutes that followed, TCU outscored ASU 34-16 with a run at one point of 16-0. The Horned Frogs shot significantly better in the second half as they shot 55 percent on field goals which mirrored their 55 prcent shooting clip from the 3-point line.

TCU’s senior guard Micah Peavy recorded the program’s third-ever triple-double to cap off the night for the Horned Frogs. Peavy’s final stat line read: 13 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

In the first half, the Sun Devils limped into the break. While Miller was 4 for 6 from the field in the first half, the rest of the Sun Devils combined to shoot just a 5 for 20 clip. The offense struggled down the stretch as the flow and pace of play began to slow down. Hurley is tasked next with figuring out the best fit for Miller into the offense as four other Sun Devils guards didn’t break double figures.

Arizona State turned the ball over 10 times, four of them coming from junior guard Frankie Collins.

While the ball movement was poor at times, the shooting wasn’t much better. Bailed out by the Horned Frogs down the stretch, the Sun Devils didn’t score a field goal for the final 7:01 in the first half.

Arizona State will match up against Northwestern at 5:30 p.m. MST on Wednesday, December 20 from Footprint Center in Phoenix as part of the 2023 Jerry Colangelo’s Hall of Fame Series.