Washington State beats Arizona State 51-29 to open Pac-12
Wed, Dec 1, 2021
NCAAB News (AP)
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Noah Williams scored 14 points and Washington State overcame an ugly first half to open Pac-12 play with a 51-29 win over Arizona State on Wednesday night.
The Cougars (6-1, 1-0 Pac-12) traded misses with the Sun Devils in a disjointed first half before running more their offense in the second. Washington State led by eight at halftime and stretched it to 21 with a big run to pull away from the flailing Sun Devils.
Arizona State played without forward Marcus Bagley (knee) for the fifth straight game, but it may not have mattered who was on the court.
The Sun Devils (2-6, 0-1) exasperated coach Bobby Hurley and had the fans booing most of the night with an unseemly display of one-on-one offense.
Arizona State had 10 points at halftime, shot 21% and went 3 for 26 from the 3-point arc in one of their worst offensive performances under Hurley. DJ Horne had 12 points to lead the Sun Devils, who even struggled on free throws, going 2 for 8.
Arizona State was coming off a difficult trip to the Bahamas, capped by a 77-59 loss to Loyola Chicago to go 0-3 at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Washington State blew a 19-point lead in a 76-71 loss to Eastern Washington last Saturday.
Even so, no one could have predicted the offensive ineptitude on display at Desert Financial Arena Wednesday night.
Trading clanks, air balls and passes straight out of bounds, the Sun Devils and Cougars had fans groaning in disgust throughout the first half.
The Cougars missed 15 straight shots while going scoreless for 11 minutes, 24 seconds and finished 7 for 29 from the floor.
And they were the better team, up 18-10 at halftime.
Playing mostly one-on-one, Arizona State missed nine of its first 10 shots and kept misfiring, going 4 for 24 overall, 2 for 15 from 3. The Sun Devils heard a sarcastic cheer from their fans after hitting their second sort of the half and didn't crack double figures scoring until the 4:56 mark.
How bad was it? Washington State's Williams hit the first free in 12 combined attempts with 1:55 left.
The teams went 2 for 13 from the line and split their 18 combined turnovers.
Washington State found an offensive rhythm of sorts in the second half. Arizona State did not.
The Cougars scored eight straight points during a 14-2 run to go up 37-16 and the Sun Devils kept clanging to spoil any hope of a comeback.
Washington State had its struggles on offense, causing coach Kyle Smith to throw up his arms numerous times. The Cougars got into a better offensive rhythm in the second half and helped play a role in Arizona State's poor shooting with their defense.
Arizona State needs a lot of work on offense. A LOT.
Washington State hosts No. 20 USC on Saturday.
Arizona State plays at Oregon Monday.
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