ASU Basketball cruised to a 98-62 win over Central Arkansas in the team’s nonconference finale. The Sun Devils tied a program record with 18 made threes for the second time this season.
After today’s win, the Sun Devils enter Pac-12 play with a winning record, concluding nonconference play at 7-6. Here are three takeaways from the win over UCA:
1. Live by the Three, Die by the Three
The Bears opened the game in a 3-2 zone, daring the Sun Devils to shoot. At the under-12 timeout, ASU was 2-10 shooting beyond the arc, rushing into low-percentage jumpers early in the shot clock.
As the half progressed and in the second half, ball movement improved as the floor opened up for ASU. Guards Shannon Evans II, Torian Graham and Tra Holder combined for 71 points while connecting on 16 total three-pointers. Graham notched a new career-high with 26 points.
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With the lack of a low-post presence, the Sun Devils were forced to attempt 45 shots from deep. Today, 18 shots fell as the team matched the program record, a number reached on Dec. 3 against UNLV.
2. Finding the Open Man
Following a game earlier this season, head coach Bobby Hurley emphasized the importance of tallying assists to match made baskets. Against UCA, the Sun Devils recorded 32 made shots on 27 assists.
Holder led ASU with nine dimes and Evans picked up another eight. As an undersized team, swift ball movement helps find better shots and that showed tonight.
3. Developing Tshisumpa
For much of the season, Hurley has attempted to develop freshman center Jethro Tshisumpa but has been limited primarily due to foul trouble. During a loss to Creighton, it was noted that the freshman averages 11.5 fouls per 40 minutes.
With the game out of reach in the second half, Hurley dialed up a few more plays for Tshisumpa to help him establish a level of comfortability on offense. On two shots, the big man converted a dunk off of a screen and missed a post hook.
Defensively, he blocked two shots and picked up four fouls in 13 minutes.
On the horizon, ASU will have a week off to prepare for its Pac-12 opener against Stanford as the Sun Devils play in Maples Pavilion on Dec. 30. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. and the game can be watched on the Pac-12 Network.