The days in the valley were noticeably cooler in December.
The defeat brings the Sun Devils 4: 3 in the season. ASU went into the matchup with 13 points.
Despite the away game, the miners were the ones who came out with a burst of steam and made a quick 6-0 run early in the first half.
Jalen Graham, the Sophomore striker, responded with a pair of ones and converted one of the free-throw attempts to bring the Sun Devils back within one point.
An Alonzo Verge layup with about 12 minutes left in the half gave the Sun Devils their first lead of the game.
ASU missed its first six shots from outside the bow and was only able to score late in the first half when junior striker Taeshon Cherry used a 3-pointer 1:11 before half. It would be the only brand of the night.
Freshman guard Josh Christopher would add one successful and one ahead of a Remy Martin layup just before the buzzer gave the Sun Devils the biggest lead of the night, 41:33 at halftime.
The difference? ASU’s ability to convert from the charity flick made up for poor shooting performance in the first half.
In 10 of his 12 free throw attempts, ASU took advantage of UTEP’s mistakes defensively. At the other end, the miners only got two free throw marks.
The Miners started the second half with two consecutive 3-pointers and three good free-throw attempts and quickly regained the lead with a 9-0 run at 18:15.
« It was a Jekyll and Hyde type of effort, » said ASU head coach Bobby Hurley, comparing the two halves after the game. “We fought well in the first half, ended the half very well, had a nice lead, an eight point lead. And it was gone in about a minute. … Before we knew it, we had given away everything we had won and that was a problem.
“I found it rather disappointing how we competed. We need to find out a few things and make some changes to who is playing, especially in our forecourt. ”
The miners would keep petting it out of the 3-point land and draining five treys in the last 20 minutes.
The Sun Devils missed their first five 3-point attempts and watched the miners’ lead balloon. They hit double digits and had 7:57 to play.
At the end of the competition, the Sun Devils had only scored 22 points in the second half and missed all 11 long shots. In total they shot 5. 5% from the depth (1-0f-18).
And as much as the team’s lack of effectiveness could be seen offensively, rebounding continued to be a problem for the Sun Devils, losing the battle of the boards between 46 and 26.
That will happen when the team’s best rebounder and one of the highest scoring threats in Marcus Bagley isn’t on the hardwood.
« Bringing Bagley back to his knees will be key, » Hurley said of the team’s poor performance. « Chris Osten is going to get a lot more minutes because he’s going to fight and fight and compete and he has a heart when he plays. Play with a lot of heart, a lot of courage. ”
Although Bagley warmed up before the game, the rookie did not participate in the competition on Wednesday.
Marcus Bagley shoots after losing # ASU to UTEP. It will be a huge plus to have the newbie back in the Sun Devil lineup, both offensively and on the glass. picture. Twitter. com / 7g3MbDA6eh
Bagley hasn’t adjusted since December. 3 when he fell with a lower leg injury in a win over Cal. He averages 13. 0 points and 5. 8 rebounds.
It also didn’t help that Martin finished the night with only nine points. The Senior Guard entered the game at an average of 18. 2 points per game.
« I just didn’t have the normal look I’m used to seeing him be out there with the fire and passion, flying around the square doing a lot of what you saw on Sunday , especially in the second half vs.. . Grand Canyon, ”said Hurley. ”
Christopher, the Sun Devils’ other freshman threat, went out of his way to make up the night for the rest of the team.
The guard scored 24 points on 10 of 20 (50%) shooting, along with six rebounds and one assist. He also added two blocks and four steals as one of the team’s only bright spots.
« I thought he did more than just a few shots, » said Hurley. “He hit the ground a couple of times and really messed it up on defense. He was really connected to the game. That number is very small in terms of who was connected to the game.
« We need to get more players to match the intensity he showed in this game. ”
But even the impressive performance couldn’t make up for the poor outing of the Sun Devils.
And from the product Hurley saw on the court on Wednesday night, the team must seriously seek souls to recover from that type of loss.
« We need to decide if this is important enough for you to commit yourself to the level of emotional attachment to create the impression that you are interested in playing hard and competing throughout the game, and not just 20 minutes, « said Hurley.
« It’s just mysterious how unable we were to compete and give energy to each other. I dont know. ”
ASU will try to get the bad taste of its mouth when it hosts Utah on Tuesday. Experience the action live on 98. 7 FM Arizona Sports Station.
UTEP Miners Men’s Basketball, Arizona State Sun Devils Men’s Basketball, University of Texas at El Paso, Rodney Terry
World News – USA – ASU unable to lose lackluster UTEP
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