It was one of those basketball scores that jumps off the page. 71-46, ASU over Washington State. This was the same Cougar team that had won six of its last seven games and hadn’t scored fewer than 60 points in any game this season.
Guess it was a fluke, right? Wrong. The Sun Devils are playing lock-down defense right now, which accounts for them sweeping the two Washington schools at home for the first time since 2003.
The Devils have held 12 of their first 17 opponents to under 40 per cent shooting from the field. During Sunday’s Washington State game, the crew from Tempe held Klay Thompson to nine points. We’re talking about the Pac-10’s leading scorer, fourth in the nation, who has been dropping an average of 24 points a game!
No Cougar finished that game in double figures.
ASU is ranked first in the nation in scoring defense at 54.4 points per game. Which explains why only four players have had a 20-point game against the Devils this year.
An old basketball axiom: Offense puts fannies in the seats, but defense wins championships. Something to think about as ASU enters its third weekend of Pac-10 play at .500. Up next: the Oregon Ducks on Thursday.
Oh, did we mention that ASU has had eight players lead or share the team lead in scoring and has five players who have had a 20-point game in their career? That should help put the fannies in the seats.