ASU Basketball: Sun Devils Smash Cal Bears


Last night in Berkeley, the ASU Men’s basketball team boat-raced the Cal Bears by a score of 79-44.  The win boosts ASU’s overall record to 9-9 and 2-4 in the PAC-12.  It’s the Sun Devils’ second conference win in a row.

The blowout victory for ASU was highlighted by a 22-0 run in the first half that featured a 13 minute scoring drought by the Cal Bears.  Depending on your point of view, it could be argued that Cal had a bad night or ASU just played really well.  As always, it was a combination of both.  Undoubtedly, the Cal Bears had a cold night shooting.  They missed several close shots and lightly contested offensive put-backs.  They also missed several free throws.

But ASU also played tough defense.  They closed out on shooters, moved their feet well and rotated efficiently against dribble penetration.  They boxed out and harassed any Cal player with the ball in the paint.  The Sun Devils also crashed the boards with rarely seen tenacity.  In short, the Cal Bears were overwhelmed when they were on offense and got very few clean looks at the basket.  When they did, they didn’t shoot it well.  And the Sun Devils were there to clean up the boards to ensure very few second shot opportunities.

Offensively, this ASU squad looked nothing like the team that struggled to score in the first four conference games.  The Sun Devils connected on 10 three-point baskets and shot nearly 50% overall.  In their offensive sets, they moved the ball and penetrated to find the open man.  They just looked like a team that was hungry to score.  Forward Bo Barnes and guard Kodi Justice absolutely lit it up in the second half.

Overall, the scoring for ASU was very well-balanced.  Oddly enough, the emotional leader and catalyst for this team, Shaquielle McKissic, had only two points.

This may have been one of the most dominant and complete team victories for a Herb Sendek coached team.  At the very least, it’s one of their best victories since the James Harden era.  If ASU can harness this same energy and focus every night, they will be tough to beat.

The Sun Devils’ march to relevancy continues tomorrow night at 10 pm when they take on Stanford.  The Cardinal will offer a more stiffer challenge than the Cal Bears.  But this newly rejuvenated ASU team will hopefully make it a game worth watching.