ASU Basketball: Washington outlasts Sun Devils in crunch time

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 19: (L-R) Romello White
TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 19: (L-R) Romello White /

Conference struggles continued for ASU basketball on Thursday as the team fell to 4-6 in Pac-12 games following a 68-64 loss to Washington.

For the second week in a row, the Sun Devils have been on the cusp of winning the first game of a league weekend. However, late game lapses have resulted in two losses as ASU continues to work for an elusive win that continues to evade them.

Here are the takeaways from the game.

Bobby Hurley was out coached by Mike Hopkins

Yes, the Sun Devils overcame a 12-point deficit and competed down the stretch but the first-year man coached a better game start to finish. Hopkins employed a 3-2 zone that puzzled ASU for the duration of the first half.

Offensively, the Huskies ran a motion offense that utilized the inside-outside combo of guard Jaylen Nowell and forward Noah Dickerson. The duo combined for 36 of UW’s 66 points while accounting for 25 of the team’s 37 rebounds.

For ASU, their second half comeback was sparked by much-improved defense and the use of the high post to solve the zone. Kodi Justice led the Sun Devils with 16 points, operating primarily below the free throw line.

The edge goes to Hopkins due to questionable substitutions by Hurley late in the game. Forward De’Quon Lake picked up his fourth foul with 8:25 remaining and did not re-enter the game until there were 11 seconds to play.

An inability to contain big men

Dickerson had his highest scoring output since Nov. 28 and notched a season-high in rebounds against the Sun Devils. Not considered by many to be an elite big man in the conference, his performance stresses the gravity of the low post issues ASU is dealing with.

Romello White grabbed 14 boards and fouled out in 30 minutes. Lake played nine minutes and had four fouls. At 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds, Dickerson got to the rim with ease and bullied the Sun Devils inside.

With meetings against the likes of DeAndre Ayton and Chimezie Metu remaining on the schedule, ASU will need to develop a gameplan to limit their production.

Next: ASU Basketball: Bobby Hurley agrees to 5-year extension

Now 16-6 (4-6 Pac-12), it is likely that ASU will drop out of the AP poll Monday. They take the court next against Washington State Sunday.