Soul-searching Arizona State hosts North Florida

NCAA Basketball

Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley contends the Sun Devils are already at a reckoning point two games into the season, and that Monday’s home game against North Florida could tell a lot about his team.

After Thursday’s upset loss at home against UC Riverside, when the outcome was flipped by a 60-foot buzzer-beater that lifted the Highlanders to the 66-65 triumph, Hurley said the Sun Devils need to do a bit of soul-searching.

“I mean, everyone’s got to look in the mirror after this and just the numbers say what they’re saying,” Hurley said after his team was outrebounded and outshot. UC Riverside made 14 3-pointers and the Sun Devils struggling at 5 of 18 beyond the arc.

After last season, Hurley lost perimeter standouts Remy Martin (Kansas), Alonzo Verge (Nebraska) and Jaelen House (New Mexico) to the transfer portal, and welcomed DJ Horne (Illinois State), junior Luther Muhammad (Ohio State) and senior Marreon Jackson (Toledo). He mentioned to the media that he sought more “mental toughness” from his team.

Horne, Muhammad and Jackson are a combined 17 of 56 (30.4 percent) from the field and 4 of 24 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range after Arizona State’s first two games. They have also combined for 10 turnovers.

“Everyone has a little bit of ownership and I didn’t get these guys ready to play and they weren’t playing coming out of their skin, playing hard,” Hurley said. “I thought they (UC Riverside) played harder than us. It’s disappointing.”

Kimani Lawrence’s performance was promising. The veteran had 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field and pulled down 12 rebounds.

The Sun Devils had opened the season with a 76-60 rout of Portland, and now will try to correct themselves against 0-3 North Florida.

The Ospreys have lost at Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Grand Canyon in a span of only four days.

Carter Hendricksen finished with 18 points including four 3-pointers, in a 65-51 loss against Grand Canyon on Friday. Dorian James contributed 10 points and a team-best 7 rebounds.

“I know the schedule is who we have in front of us and Arizona State’s next,” North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll said. “We have to keep on persevering and working through this. Keep on communicating with each other and figure this out.”

–Field Level Media

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