ASU basketball couldn’t overcome shooting woes as the Sun Devils shot 32 percent from the field in a 67-66 upset loss versus Princeton.
Last week, Arizona State was celebrating one of the biggest wins in program history knocking off No. 1 Kansas.
On Saturday, they faced a reality check as the 6-5 Princeton Tigers pulled off a 67-66 upset in Tempe behind 10 3-pointers.
Arizona State, like they did against Kansas, shot poorly in the first half shooting 28 percent from the field missing all seven 3-pointers attempted.
Forward Romello White was the only effective Sun Devil offensively as he posted 13 points and 10 rebounds in the first half. White finished the game with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
As they have done numerous times in recent weeks, the Sun Devils mounted a second half surge to erase a 10-point deficit to take a 45-44 lead with 12:36 remaining.
Princeton fought back and traded buckets with the Sun Devils sending the game to the wire. With 25.6 seconds remaining, forward Richmond Aririguzoh was fouled by guard Luguentz Dort at the rim.
Aririguzoh made both free throws to give Princeton the 67-66 lead. After an ASU timeout, the Sun Devils got three shots off, threes by guards Rob Edwards and Remy Martin and a fadeaway shot in the paint by Dort, but none went in as the Tigers held on for the win.
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“Obviously not the result we were hoping for,” Hurley said. “Coming into this game, it was not the response you hoped for just off of what happened last week.”
“It definitely hurts. Basketball humbles you real quick,” forward Zylan Cheatham said. “You go from an all-time high to an all-time low.”
Cheatham said he didn’t believe this was a hangover from the Kansas game saying they didn’t play their best against Kansas but were able to find a way to win.
These poor first halves shooting for Arizona State is becoming a trend and Hurley said they need to stop digging themselves a hole as it’s been too much pressure on their defense.
Princeton didn’t shoot particularly well either as they finished shooting 35 percent from the field, but the difference was the shots behind the arc. The Tigers made 10 threes while Arizona State was just 2-for-15.
The Tigers finished with four players in double-figures with guard Devin Cannady leading all scorers with 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
“We need more guys playing well on offense. Romello (White) did some nice things in the first half with his rebounding and some of those put-backs. Remy (Martin) had some good shots,” Hurley said. “Rob (Edwards) had a good couple minutes stretch, but otherwise it was just really hard to figure out where we can be effective on that end of the floor.”
Arizona State missed numerous shots at the rim, most notably the steal at halfcourt by Martin who then missed the layup. It was one of many shots at the rim that didn’t fall.
Cheatham attributed their struggles finishing at the rim to spacing on the floor.
“I think our spacing isn’t where it needs to be. We need to space the floor better,” Cheatham said. “Sometimes we’re playing on top of each other and we’re clogging up the lane and it makes it difficult for guys to go downhill.”
Hurley didn’t sugarcoat this defeat.
“There’s no positives to this at all. Just the kind of non-conference we’ve had and the level of wins we’ve had, this is a step back,” Hurley said. “If we’re going to play like this, then a resume doesn’t mean a whole lot. You got to be ready to take care of business and play at a higher level. You can’t be one team against No. 1 in the country and then play this way.”
Pac-12 play is next up for the Sun Devils as they’ll host Utah Thursday to get conference play underway.
Despite the loss, Cheatham isn’t wavering on his belief for the team.
“We got to stay motivated. It’s obvious how the conference has done as a whole and this loss doesn’t help at all,” Cheatham said. “I’m excited to get conference started. I’m not discouraged at all. I’m very motivated and very happy with our guys and I see a bright future.”
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.