LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Now the Arizona State Sun Devils will sit and wait to see if his body of work warrants more games.
Coach Bobby Hurley’s team advanced to the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament for the first time since 2019, but failed to follow through, losing 78–59 to rival and No. 2 seed Arizona in the semifinals. Mobile Arena.
The Wildcats (27–6), ranked eighth nationally, advanced to meet No. 1 UCLA, which had earlier defeated No. 4 Oregon, 75–56, in the semifinals.
ASU (22-12) advanced to the semi-finals earlier this week with two wins. 63–57 win over No. 11 Oregon State in the first round, Then A remarkable 77-72 upset of No. 3 USC, Prior to that game the Sun Devils were listed as a “first four out” in most NCAA postseason projections, but that win moved ASU to the right side of the bubble.
Now Hurley and his team will have to wait to see if their team stays there once the dust settles from all the other conference tournaments. Hurley, who is leading in his eighth season, feels his team deserves a place in the field, which will be announced at 4pm on Sunday.
“I respect the process. I’ve been through the process and I understand the evaluation process, and you respect other teams that have had good seasons and are being considered like us. I really believe However, if you take our three best wins and you compare them to other bubble teams, I don’t think it’s close,” Hurley said.
“We’ve demonstrated that we can go and win away from our home court, and that’s a major priority in the NCAA tournament. We won 22 games in a power conference. I mean, how much more do you really have to do?” ?So I think these guys deserve it. The other thing is a Quad 1 win and then a really good Quad 1 win. Any time you go to neutral and beat Creighton or you have USC on neutral Or you go to Arizona and win, those are serious wins. They’re not eating up a Quad 1 game on your home court.”
ASU’s 12 wins away from home tied for third nationally, with the Wildcats suffering their first loss in six games on neutral courts. It has five Quad 1 wins, the most notable also the most memorable. it was An 89–88 win over a rival team on February 25 at McKell Center in Arizona including a desperation 60-footer at the buzzer by Desmond Cambridge.
The way the game ended, undoubtedly, made this win all the more enjoyable for the Wildcats.
ASU also had Quad 1 conference road wins over Oregon and Colorado as well as a neutral court Quad 1 win over Creighton in the preseason.
Also factoring into the equation are results from other sports. Helping ASU were losses Friday by other bubble teams including Rutgers, Mississippi State, Clemson and Oregon, and earlier this week to Nevada, Wisconsin and Oklahoma State.
Players say they hope their season doesn’t end and, like everyone else, they are a little worried.
Desmond Cambridge said, “Luckily we made it until Friday so we’ve only got 36 hours to wait but it probably feels like starting a week now.” “It’s going to be tough. Probably try not to even think about basketball for the next day and let the cards fall where they may.”
“It’s tough, there’s no certainty,” said DJ Horn. “I think we proved enough to say that we deserve to be in that tournament. I hope we get that chance.”
The performance in the Pac-12 Tournament proved to be a rubber match as the rivals split the meetings during the regular season, with each win on the opponents’ court, oddly enough. Arizona was a 69–60 winner on December 31 at the Desert Financial Arena.
The first half saw two ties and five lead changes and ended with the Wildcats up 35–28.
ASU scored the first four points of the second half with a fast break layup by Frankie Collins to cut the deficit to 35–32.
They were later within striking distance at 56–52 with 7:06 remaining, only for the Wildcats to explode for seven points, with a 3-pointer by Pelle Larsson making it 63–52 with 5:32 remaining. ASU was again not within striking distance.
ASU shot just 32.3% (21-for-65). Cambridge, which had a season-high 27 in Thursday’s win, had only eight, going 3-for-10 from the field, point guard Frankie Collins had 11 with five assists while Jamia Neal came off the bench and scored 11. has contributed.
Arizona shot 56.4% (31-for-55), benefiting from a 44–30 advantage on the boards and scored 40 points in the paint. Azuolas Tubelis collected 17 points and nine rebounds with Cedric Henderson and Oumar Balo shipping 14 each.
Everyone gave credit to the Wildcats but said that playing three games in as many days took its toll. Arizona received a bye in the first round.
“I think to a degree it was three straight days late and we ran out of steam,” Hurley said. “Our style, I don’t think, is necessarily suited to playing that many days in a row, just how we press and how much energy we put into defense. I think if we were a slow, slow team, So we have a better chance of getting a chance tonight. But again, they are an elite team and for sure it’s going to be one hell of a game with UCLA and Arizona tomorrow night.
Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd thinks the Sun Devils have a good case.
“I think they’re right there,” he said. “They’re a tough team to play against. I know what they had with these specialists and all this stuff and I think they’re a tournament-worthy team. I know it, I mean, if you Match them up in the NCAA tournament, you are not sleeping well. They are a tough team to play against, and I think this is a team that can win an NCAA tournament game without a doubt in my mind “
If ASU is ousted from the field, they may get a spot in the NIT. When asked about this, Hurley defended himself.
“We’re all assuming that what we’ve done, again, in a power conference, win 22 games and lose 12, we’re not a team that lost 14 or 15 games and didn’t even get to 20 wins. That’s a lot.” There are wins and a lot of good wins that just elude us. So that’s where our focus is right now.”
UCLA 75, Oregon 56: Senior point guard Tiger Campbell scored 27 points, including 18 in the second half, to lead the top-seeded Bruins (28-4) past No. 4 Oregon. Pac-12 Player of the Year Jamie Jacquez recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bruins played without Jaylen Clark, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, who suffered a season-ending injury in the regular season finale. Freshman center Adem Bona went down in the second half with a shoulder injury and did not return.
This article originally appeared on The Arizona Republic: Arizona Knocks Out Arizona State In Pac-12 Semifinals, Now Sun Devils Wait And Hope