ASU men's basketball (2-6) continued to struggle against Washington State (6-1) on Wednesday in its first conference game of the season, losing their fifth game in a row by a final score of 51-29 at Desert Financial Arena.
Poor is a kind word to use to summarize the shooting performance from ASU. Overall, ASU shot 11.5% (3 for 26) from the three-point line and 21.1% (12 for 57) from the field. It was an unusual game all-around in the first half for both teams, but an average offensive half from WSU was all that it took for the blowout win.
"I've had a lot of teams here that could put some points on the board," head coach Bobby Hurley said. "Tonight, this was as ineffective an offensive performance I've been a part of, maybe ever, as a player and a coach so it's disappointing. Epically bad."
The scoring then went on pause for almost eight minutes, with both teams trading missed shots (a combined 0 for 17) and turnovers until redshirt junior guard Luther Muhammad hit a nice spin-around jumper with 09:32 left in the half. WSU wouldn't put any points on the board until there was 06:01 in the half, going over 11 minutes without scoring.
Horne made his second 3-pointer of the game with 04:56 in the half to cut the Cougar lead to two. WSU would then go on a 6-0 run to end the first half, taking an 18-10 lead. Each team went into the half with 9 turnovers and shot under 25% from the field.
With both teams struggling offensively in the first half, WSU opened the second half with a 10-2 run to jump ahead 28-12 just under four minutes into the half. With the combination of a 16-point deficit and poor shooting throughout the night, ASU was in too big of a hole to ever climb out of.
WSU was led by junior guard Noah Williams (14 points) and senior center Dishon Jackson (10 points). Although it wasn't as bad as the Sun Devils, the Cougars also struggled shooting the ball, finishing the night 30.5% (18-59) from the field and 29.2% from behind the arc.
It is hard to put a positive spotlight on anything for ASU tonight, but sophomore guard DJ Horne, the most consistent scorer for ASU, led the way with 12 points (although struggling on 5 for 13 from the field and 2 for 7 from three). ASU even had a difficult time making layups, finishing 3 for 14 in that category.
"It just felt like a circus out there. It just felt like we were doing bizarre things even as the game started going and I'm sure confidence and doubt come into play for each guy that is doing something negative," Hurley said. "It just kind of continues to demoralize the whole group."
ASU men's basketball will travel to Eugene to take on the Oregon Ducks next in its second Pac-12 game of the season and will look for their first conference win on Dec. 5 at 5:00 p.m. MST.
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