ASUDevils - ASU far from convincing in a win over Louisiana
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ASU far from convincing in a win over Louisiana

Romello White posted a team-high 19 points on 7 of 9 shooting to go alongside 14 rebounds.
Romello White posted a team-high 19 points on 7 of 9 shooting to go alongside 14 rebounds.

Arizona State’s victory Louisiana 77-65 to improve to 6-2 on the year was nothing more than a number on a piece of paper to ASU head coach Bobby Hurley.

Hurley’s frustration was evident throughout the night as his team struggled to maintain control of a game they had dominated for the first half.

This frustration reached a boiling point with just over 12 minutes remaining in the second half as the Ragin Cajuns got a steal and took it the length of the court and converted for two points.

Hurley instantly turned to his bench sending an entirely new five players on the court in response to the lack of effort displayed on the floor.

“Anytime that happens there had to be someone between point A and point B to make an impact there,” Hurley expressed. “When 5 guys don’t do it, in that instant that was my call. I don’t do that all the time but it was frustrating to see that.”

This frustration was one that became the theme of the second half as the Sun Devils saw an early lead that grew as high as 19 points get all the way down to 10 points.

The one bright spot that held everything together just long enough was center Romello White who finished with a team-high 19 points on 7 of 9 shooting to go alongside 14 rebounds.

“Good things happened when he had the ball,” Hurley stated. “Bottom line. Shooting percentages, some of his really good passes out of the post, he went to the offensive glass, he battled in the paint to rebound. He was one of the primary reasons we were in the position we were late in the game.”

White’s performance in the key was one that led to an inside-out approach for the Sun Devils as the three-point line began to open up leading to a total of 26 three-point attempts.

The frustrating part for Hurley? ASU converted a mere six of the attempts taken from behind the arch.

“I think we got bated into shooting some poor shots,” Hurley admitted. “We did have some open threes that we missed badly. When you look at 8 for 26, guys just have to start hitting from three especially when you have a guy down low that is as productive as Romello is going to be. Those shots are going to be there, they have to connect at a better rate.”

The poor shooting was one that has plagued a Sun Devil team that struggled on the defensive side of the ball as well.

These struggles in the second half allowed the Ragin Cajuns back into a game that they 38-26 at the halfway point.

In the first half alone, ASU forced a total of 13 turnovers, with seven coming in the first seven minutes and scored 18 points off the turnovers.

This defense to offense approach was one that the Sun Devils road as both Remy Martin and Kimani Lawrence had two steals each in the half.

The defense in the second half was one that mirrored a different sentiment as Hurley’s squad allowed 39 points while only scoring 39 points in the second half.

“I thought our defense was poor,” Hurley admitted. “Relative to how we guarded in the first half and most of the season. We allowed them to go off the bounce and beat us and put them on the free-throw line way too much. It was a really poor defensive effort in the second half.”

Despite the poor effort, it was short spurts that helped the Sun Devils survive the second-half struggles.

These mini streaks included seven points in just over a minute and a half from Taeshon Cherry which included a three, a putback, and a dunk in transition.

Other standouts for Arizona State included guard Rob Edwards who poured in 17 key points in the victory including three 3-pointers that were vital in slowing down Louisiana late in the game.

While the Sun Devils saw standout performances from a select few players, the play from the team’s proverbial leader was less than expected, including in the eyes of Hurley.

Remy Martin finished the game third in scoring for his team with 15 points on 4 of 11 shooting and four assists but often looked out of sync.

Martin was one of the five Sun Devils on the floor when Hurley made his mass substitution for a lack of effort. Something Hurley believes isn’t something he should be seeing from his team’s leading scorer.

“He has such a high standard with me that it wasn’t a good effort by him,” Hurley stated. “He didn’t lead our team the way I needed him too. He wasn’t connected to the game the way he should’ve been.”

This lack of connection was one that was also seen by another guard on the team in the form of Alonzo Verge.

Verge, a transfer, has been highly praised by Hurley in previous weeks but much like his teammates he was met with frustration after the team’s victory.

The guard finished 2 for 7 from the field as he made little to no impact on the offensive end, something the Sun Devils are looking to do a large amount this season.

“He’s too talented to be playing the way he is,” Hurley said. “He’s got to stop thinking or feeling sorry for himself that he hasn’t hit a shot or whatever. Step up, be mature, and start playing the way he’s capable of playing.”

Arizona State will be back in action next Wednesday in a home matchup against Prairie View.