Week in Review
After defeating Oregon State at home, the Sun Devils went on an important road trip this past week to Northern California against Cal and Stanford. The Sun Devils faced an underrated but very good Stanford team and a young, inexperienced team in the California Golden Bears. Arizona State ended up splitting their games this past week with a 9 point loss to Stanford, and an 8 point win against Cal. Arizona State is now 15-4 overall and 3-4 in conference.
What Went Wrong
Arizona State ideally wanted to get both wins last week so that they could have a winning record in conference play going into a homestand this upcoming weekend. Unfortunately for Arizona State, their shooting and rebounding plagued them in their first game against Stanford. The Sun Devils as a team shot 42.6% from the field but allowed Stanford to shoot 50.8%. Arizona State also got outrebounded 30 to 44. Getting outrebounded has been a problem for the Sun Devils during conference play. At halftime, Arizona State trailed 35-37, and the Sun Devils were very much still in the game.
During the second half, ASU let the game slip out of their hands by giving Stanford multiple chances on the offensive glass which allowed for putbacks and easy layups for the Cardinal. In addition, Arizona State’s offense was stagnant during key parts of the game. Whenever ASU would cut the lead to under 6, Stanford would get easy buckets at the other end as they broke down a high team press. Arizona State’s guards continued to remain inconsistent with guards Tra Holder and Shannon Evans combining to shoot 8-26 from the field and 3-13 from deep. The problems that have plagued Arizona State throughout conference play continued at Stanford.
What Went Right
After losing to Stanford, Arizona State desperately needed a win at Cal, to stay afloat in the PAC-12. The Sun Devils won 81-73 using a big first half outscoring Cal 41-30 to take an 11 point lead into halftime. Arizona State finished the game shooting 47.5% from the field and 10-21 from 3 (47.6%), while holding Cal to 5-16 from 3 (31.3%).
Secondly, Arizona State had great bench production as Bobby Hurley’s bench scored 41 points. Yes, you read that correctly Arizona State’s bench scored 41 out of 81 points. ASU had four players in double digits, and three other players with 6 points or more. This was a great site to see for Bobby Hurley who wants ASU to have a more balanced attack, so that teams will take some focus off of Arizona State’s great senior guards. If Arizona State’s bench players continue to play at a high level and the senior guards get back to playing like they did in November and December, ASU will be a tough team to beat down the stretch especially come March.
After splitting their games last week, Arizona State has two home games this week against Utah and Colorado. After getting upset by Colorado and barely escaping Utah the first time around, expect the Sun Devils to come out focused and energized as they have a great opportunity to win both of these games to get to 5-4 in the conference. Arizona State has to get back to being efficient offensively, and rebounding better on both the offensive and defensive glass. Coach Hurley will continue to focus on how to be more efficient against defensive zones during practice this week to sweep Utah and Colorado.