Short-Handed Sun Devils Fall in Overtime to UCLA, 81-75
By Brandon Jones, Walter Cronkite School Class of 2021
Hours before tip before its game with Pac-12 favorite UCLA (8-2; 4-0), the Arizona State Sun Devil men's basketball team announced it would be without guards Remy Martin and Jaelen House as well as forwards Jalen Graham and Taeshon Cherry. With four players playing more than 40 minutes, ASU simply ran out of gas and players without five fouls in overtime in an 81-75 loss.
The Sun Devils were happy to get back freshman forward Marcus Bagley from injury, who finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds and brought back more intensity down low while also knocking three three-pointers. Alonzo Verge Jr. and Josh Christopher led the way with 25 and 22 points, respectively, in the absence of All-American guard Remy Martin, who was attending the funeral of his grandfather. It marked Bagley's first game since the Dec. 3 win at California.
ALONZO VERGE TOP SCORING GAMES (12-5 WHEN HE SCORES 13/6-3 WHEN SCORES 20)
43 vs. St. Mary's (12/18/19)
26 vs. #14 Oregon (2/20/20)
26 vs. UCLA (2/6/20)
25 vs. UCLA (1/7/211
25 vs. #24 San Diego State (12/10/20)
23 vs. Texas Southern (12/28/19)
22 vs. #3 Villanova (11/26/20)
22 at California (2/16/20)
20 vs. Washington State (3/7/20)
20 vs. Prairie View A&M (12/11/19)
The Sun Devils kept themselves in the game by forcing 18 Bruin turnovers and led at the half but shooting just was not enough to win the game, shooting .390 (28-of-72) from the field and .230 (6-of-26) from beyond the arc.
Arizona State will host USC Saturday at 5 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.
HEAD COACH BOBBY HURLEY
"I'm proud of my team's effort, I think we battled extremely hard. UCLA is going to try and grind you up, they're a really defensive minded, tough team on both ends of the floor; they had a great inside game. I think we held our own in the paint, we held our own on the backboards and those are points of emphasis we are trying to get better at. I like how our guys stepped up, it's been a tough stretch and to be shorthanded and have four guys play over 40 minutes in a game and still compete the way we did was very honorable despite all the adversity we were facing."
ON REBOUNDING AND DEFENSIVE EFFORT
"I thought we did a good job especially through the regulation to dig in the post, get some post trapping, we generated 18 turnovers in the game without pressing UCLA as much during the game, I thought we were feisty in that regard. I'm not sure if Riley slowed us down, as we got to overtime, we couldn't handle him as well. Marcus and Josh having double figure rebounds was important for us because if we can do that well, we have guys that can play in the open court and it's going to be really beneficial for us moving forward."
ON ALONZO VERGE'S IMPROVEMENT
"He took it personally, took it as a chip on his shoulder how he played. He had a good rhythm taking the mid-range shots, getting to the basket well, and six defensive rebounds in the first half which is really good from the guard spot. He did a lot of things that were positive for us tonight."
ON DIFFICULTY MISSING PLAYERS
"It's tough. When I mention four guys playing over 40 minutes that rarely happens. I think we have a good foundation under us in terms of conditioning, it's a very physical game and these guys battled through it really well. As far as other players, they are still day to day and I'll try to get updates as they know more."
ON HOW TO GET TO CURRENT DEFENSIVE LEVEL
"It's been a lot of film sessions, communication with the guys, and showing them the breakdowns. We're trying to show them the importance of it and showing them the success we do have when we're better in that department and what that means to our chances of winning games. It's going to be critical for us to play with that physicality and to have multiple guys focused on doing it, and we'll have more success moving forward."
QUOTING UCLA HEAD COACH MICK CRONIN
ON CODY RILEY
"Well obviously, not only his buckets, we got a lot of inside-out 3s. I dispute that we only had two assists. I'm just frustrated with the fact that we didn't go to him – we worked on going to him all week, especially in this game. So I thought we got away from that early on, and we were over-dribbling, taking hard shots. We gave Arizona State life and almost paid the price being sloppy with the basketball, sloppy with our shot selection, it's why we shot 35% in the first half. Bad shot selection and too many turnovers. Cody does a great job in the low post, we need to do a better job of feeding him all the time when he's in the game to be honest with you. But David Singleton stepped up, made some big plays as well."
ON ASU PLAYING SHORTHANDED
"I told you guys this when Chris [Smith] went out, it's still 5-on-5. Still 0-0, 40-minute game and 5-on-5 and they have two guys going in the first round of the draft on every board. [ASU's] Verge is as tough to guard off the dribble as there is in college ball. They've got weapons. In my opinion, teams play really well when they're under adverse circumstances because they know they have to rally and give everything they got. That's a credit to Coach Hurley, I would have expected nothing less from a team he coaches and their kids. So it didn't surprise me that they rallied around their lack of depth tonight."
ON DAVID SINGLETON
"I've been trying to get him back off the ball. Trying to evaluate his minutes, and too many of his minutes are at point guard. Trying to get him in there with Tyger or let Jules play some point and get him off the ball. Because he's our best shooter right now, the numbers bear it out. Didn't surprise me, Dave is an experienced guy. I'm really happy for him, great kid, and he'll run through a wall for you. Hopefully he can keep it up, I give our guys some credit – especially Cody – not only was he dominant down low but he was finding the open man versus doubles as well."
ON LACK OF TURNOVERS IN OVERTIME
"You know what, if I had the answer to that, I'd have some big rings on and be headed for Springfield, Mass. I really don't know. I'm a stickler for taking care of the ball. My Dad taught me that, that was his big thing as a great high school coach in Ohio. I worked for Bob Huggins and Rick Pitino, and they hammered it home for 18 years. I hammer it home because my team's always offensive rebounding – you can't rebound a turnover. I wish I knew why we started taking care of the ball in overtime. If we would have tried that the whole game, we might not have been in overtime. But that said, Arizona State I thought they played really hard. Their activity and their quickness caused some of that, we've got to do a better job on that. We'll watch the film and keep trying to get better."
ASU OVERTIME GAMES VS. UCLA (5-4)
UCLA 81, ASU 75/Jan. 7, 2021
@UCLA 79, ASU 74/Feb. 27, 2013
UCLA 73, ASU 72/Jan. 29, 2011
#16 ASU 61, @#9 UCLA 58/Jan. 17, 2009
ASU 74, UCLA 62/Feb. 12, 2004
@#7 UCLA 88, ASU 85/Jan. 4, 1999)
@#6 UCLA 82, ASU 77/Feb. 16, 1995)
ASU 74, UCLA 73/Feb. 15, 1986)
ASU 78, UCLA 74 3OT/Jan. 16, 1981)