Washington State and Arizona State enter their Pac-12 opener Wednesday at Tempe, Ariz., coming off humbling performances.
The Sun Devils (2-5) lost all three of their games in the Bahamas last week, and the Cougars (5-1) were dumped by little brother Eastern Washington.
At the Battle 4 Atlantis at the Bahamas, ASU lost to Baylor, Syracuse and Loyola Chicago by an average margin of 12.7 points. Adding their Nov. 18 defeat at San Diego State, and it’s a four-game losing streak for coach Bobby Hurley’s Sun Devils.
All four of the games have been without starting forward Marcus Bagley, who did not make the trip to the Bahamas because he aggravated a knee injury in the win over North Florida on Nov. 15.
His status for Wednesday’s game against Washington State is questionable.
“You can’t afford to have stretches like we did in these games,” Hurley said. “Down 12, down 14, down 16 — and we’re trying to climb back into it.
“There were too many breakdowns on defense that you can’t afford to have, with guys shooting wide-open 3s. So it was not a good performance defensively.”
Baylor, Syracuse and Loyola Chicago shot a combined 40.6 from 3-point range.
Washington State is coming off a 76-71 loss at home against Eastern Washington on Saturday.
The Cougars played without injured regulars Noah Williams and T.J. Bamba, who are expected to return against the Sun Devils.
Tyrell Roberts (23 points) and Michael Flowers (21) combined for 44 points on a day the Cougars hit just 31.1 percent of their shots, including just 29 percent from 3-point territory.
Still, they led at halftime 40-28 before being outscored in the second half by the Big Sky Conference team by 17 points in falling to the Eagles for just the second time in 17 meetings.
“We haven’t been able to play two halves,” Washington State coach Kyle Smith said. “We’ll have to really look at ourselves and do a better job. We’re an unformed team and we hadn’t been in a tight, tough game yet.”
–Field Level Media