The theme of basketball's offensive turmoil hit rock bottom when ASU lost 51-29 in its first conference game against Washington State on Dec. 1. Head coach Bobby Hurley couldn't hold back after the game and left loads of doubt and uncertainty on the table.
"I've had a lot of teams here that could put some points on the board," Hurley said after a loss to Washington State. "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."
Sun Devil Hoops is ranked 307 in points per game, 344 in shooting percentage and 337 in 3-point percentage this season out of all 358 college basketball teams in the country.
Outside of sophomore guards DJ Horne and Jay Heath, no one else in the current rotation for ASU is shooting over 26% from the 3-point line. Overall, they are shooting 28.9% from beyond the arc, the worst in the Pac-12.
ASU has gone 5-8 since that loss and currently sit at 7-14. The last time ASU started 7-14 or worse was the 2011-12 season when they also started 7-14 and finished 10-21.
As of recent, ASU has shown improvement on the offensive end from the 3-point line in its past two games, shooting 34.4% in its biggest win of the season against UCLA on Saturday and 43.3% in its loss against UA on Monday.
Hurley said on 98.7 FM on Wednesday his team's 3-point shooting has improved in recent games and different players are stepping up. ASU will need to step up its shooting performance across the board and rely on its consistent strength: defense.
Sun Devil Hoops has shown several flashes of great defense despite their struggles on offense, holding both No. 4 UA to 67 points on Jan. 29, its second-lowest point total of the season, and No. 21 USC to 58 points on Feb. 3, tied for its season-low in points.
Another issue for ASU is their inability to close out games. Their offense has tended to fall flat down the stretch. In the close loss to USC, ASU shot just 7.69% from the 3-point line in the second half, compared to their 25% in the first half.
This is a common trend for the Sun Devils, as it happened again when ASU played UA on Feb. 7 and fell behind after coming out with a hot start.
"We play a great first half, but it's a 40 minute game," said graduate student Kimani Lawrence at a press conference.
Free throws have also heavily contributed to the team's offensive struggles. ASU has made only 67% of their free throws this season, putting them at ninth in the Pac-12, tied with Oregon State.
Thankfully, for ASU, they have completed the toughest part of their schedule and will head into an easier section playing weaker teams like Oregon State and Utah. Despite sitting at a 7-14 record, ASU still hopes to finish the season strong and gain some momentum heading into the Pac-12 tournament.
"You know it's been a lot of games this season where it was down to you know two, three plays," said graduate student guard Marreon Jackson after the triple overtime win against UCLA. "It just builds character for games like this, and hopefully we're going to build off of this game and get on a run and keep going."
Austin Scott is a sports reporter majoring in Sports Journalism, and has been writing sports stories for three years. He looks to continue writing impactful, engaging sports stories for years to come. In the future, Austin wants to use his outgoing personality to do play-by-play and live sports production or sports radio and podcasting.