Bobby Hurley is off to another strong start at Arizona State, though the situation with a couple of his standouts is tenuous.
The No. 23 Sun Devils are off to a 3-1 start — they have started at that mark or better in all six seasons with Hurley at the helm– and they are preparing for No. 24 San Diego State (4-0) visiting Tempe for a nonconference game on Thursday night.
Hurley’s players with issues are Marcus Bagley and Alonzo Verge Jr. Bagley, a freshman forward who is one of Hurley’s top recruits, suffered a lower-left leg injury in the Sun Devils’ 70-62 victory at California last Thursday. Verge, one of the team leaders as a senior guard, has not played in the last two games because of COVID-19 contact tracing. He returned to practice last Saturday and will reportedly return to action against San Diego State. In two games, he is averaging 15 points and 5.5 rebounds.
“I’m very happy with where Marcus is and we’ve been very blessed and fortunate to get the medical (information) back that we did get back,” Hurley said. “His Achilles (injury) is completely clean. It’s intact. There were no strains or sprains or tears or anything to that area and that was my first initial thought when I saw him go down.”
Arizona State is coming off the win over Cal in which Remy Martin led the Sun Devils with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Week Josh Christopher reached double-figures (14 points) for the fourth straight game.
“The guys that we count on delivered,” Hurley said. “It starts with Remy. A number of our guys have been in big games over the past couple of years and we have some new guys added to the mix, but our players know how to operate and function in these type of games.”
San Diego State rallied to beat Pepperdine 65-60 on Sunday after trailing by 16 points with 16:16 remaining.
Jordan Schakel led the Aztecs with 17 points despite making just 1 of 6 attempts from behind the arc. Matt Mitchell finished with 13 and Joshua Tomaic added 10, as the trio accounted for 21 of the team’s 24 points in the game-winning, 24-4 run in a 12:37 span.
“Until you come back, you don’t know if you can,” San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said. “This team showed, like last year’s team (that finished 30-2), some grit and determination. It’s a new cast. They showed that they’re resilient, that they don’t panic when things aren’t going well. They stay together. There’s no bickering and pointing.”
San Diego State, ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time this season, has been ranked in 16 of the last 18 polls dating to last season.
“We have to just keep adding up wins,” Dutcher said. “We’ll have another opportunity to play in front of a national (television) audience against Arizona State on the road.
“All we can do is play the best we can, and (to) the (AP Top 25) voters, if they have the time to pay attention, I think we have a pretty good basketball team.”
–Field Level Media