Arizona State knocked off No. 23 USC, 74-67, on Friday, as Tra Holder (20 points, four assists), Gerry Blakes (14 points, eight rebounds, five assists) and Savon Goodman (17 points, six rebounds) had big games for the Sun Devils.
“I thought this was one of our best defensive performances since our win versus Texas A&M (in December),” Sun Devils head coach Bobby Hurley said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Guys played with terrific energy. We took away the three-point line pretty effectively. We’ve had some really tough losses, really close losses. It’s great that the guys are responding right now.”
Arizona State won despite shooting 41.0 percent from the floor; USC shot 51.9 percent.
“We’ve done that a few times this year,” Hurley said. “We had an edge in free throws. We didn’t connect on enough of them, but we did some nice work there and that was a tribute to how we were attacking the rim. And also the turnovers. Our activity forced us into 17 turnovers, which gave us some more possessions.”
Indeed, Arizona State made six more threes, seven more free throws and committed five fewer turnovers.
The Sun Devils (14-12, 4-9) closed the weekend with a 78-65 loss to UCLA on Sunday, as Hurley continues to get acclimated to the Pac-12 after spending the last two seasons in Buffalo.
“It’s such a competitive league,” Hurley said. “It’s so exciting to coach every game because of the challenges that your opponent presents. We did well in the non-conference. We were 10-3, we had some great wins on the road, we really challenge ourselves and I can’t feel that there’s a better conference in college basketball than the Pac-12. They’ve tested our limits. So from a competitive standpoint, it’s all you can ask for. I’m excited about the potential at Arizona State. I love the city of Phoenix and the weather and the school and everything that we could sell to recruiting in terms of building a program. So I’m really optimistic and excited about it.”