Arizona State’s men’s basketball team, the Sun Devils, had a record-breaking night on Wednesday, March 17th, when they took on the Nevada Wolf Pack in the First Four game of the NCAA Tournament. DJ Horne led the team with 20 points, and the Sun Devils dominated the game from the start, finishing with a score of 98-73.
A complete performance by Arizona State
Arizona State got off to an incredible start, leading 53-26 at halftime and continuing to score throughout the second half. The team’s first-half output was its highest of the season and helped them advance to the next round of the tournament as a No. 11 seed. They will now face off against TCU in the West Region first-round game on Friday in Denver.
After the game, Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said, “It was a complete performance for us. You want to be playing this way at this time of year. That’s what it’s all about.” He went on to praise the team’s defense, saying, “Our defense was outstanding in the first half.”
Sun Devils’ stunning shooting percentage
Arizona State hit 67.7% of its shots from the floor, an impressive feat that helped them maintain their lead throughout the game. They also forced 10 turnovers in the first half, putting together a 22-2 run over eight minutes to pull away from the Wolf Pack.
Desmond Cambridge Jr., a Nevada transfer, had 17 points, Jamiya Neal had 16, and Devan Cambridge added 15 for Arizona State. Horne made four of his five tries from beyond the arc, and the team hit 11 of 21 (52.4%) from 3-point range.
Nevada struggles to keep up
Will Baker scored 17 and Tre Coleman had 14 for the Wolf Pack, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap that Arizona State had created. One of Nevada’s top players, Kenan Blackshear, picked up three fouls early and sat on the bench for more than five minutes of the opening half. He was held to just four points in the game, well below his season average of 14.4 per game.
Arizona State’s impressive performance in the First Four game bodes well for their chances in the NCAA Tournament. The team has forced double-digit turnovers in 60 of their last 66 games, and their strong defense and stunning shooting percentage make them a formidable opponent.
The University of Dayton Arena, where the First Four is played, has now hosted 133 NCAA Tournament games, more than any other venue in the country. The First Four is an important event for the city of Dayton, with an estimated economic benefit of more than $5 million and national TV exposure.
As Arizona State prepares to face off against TCU in the first round of the tournament, fans are eagerly anticipating another strong performance from the Sun Devils. With their impressive skills and dominating performance in the First Four game, they are certainly a team to watch.