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Cal Basketball

Like the Bears, ASU Shook Up Its Lineup; Will It Do the Same at Haas?

January 8, 2019

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley and Cal’s Wyking Jones had the same idea. After a disappointing performance in losing their conference openers last week, the two coaches shook up their starting lineups for their respective second games on Saturday .

Hurley got more out of his move than Jones did. With their two high scorers watching the opening tip from the bench, the Sun Devils, who had dropped their Pac-12 opener at home to Utah two nights earlier completely throttled Colorado. They went on to an 83-61 victory

The Bears, of course, got a little burst of energy against UCLA, and four minutes into the game had a seven-point lead. They couldn’t stand the prosperity and eventually were overwhelmed by the Bruins’ superior talent.

Hurley, whose team takes on Cal in Berkeley Wednesday night, was obviously pleased with his results but unsure whether he would repeat the experiment at Haas Pavilion. Against Colorado  freshman whiz Luguentz Dort (17.5 ppg) and sophomore point guard Remy Martin (12.0) were on the bench at the beginning and In their place,sophomore Rob Edwards  and senior De’Quon Lake started, giving ASU more size in the 6-9 Lake and a reliable outside shooter in Edwards (41.7 per cent on treys).

“We needed to change some things to be better in key areas and decision making, understanding game management, time and possession,” Hurley said after the game. “Those were key areas when Lu and Remy were in during the first half as we had a big lead vs Utah. We just need to have a level of accountability.”

Hurley said there’s a chance that the starting lineup from Saturday may not be the same on Wednesday, saying that in the eight-man rotation ASU has that anyone could start.

Both Dort and Martin made contributions against the Buffs.

The Sun Devils (10-4) were picked to finish in the middle of the conference standings by most experts, but started fast and own the Pac-12’s most impressive non-conference victory, an 80-76 decision over No. 1 ranked Kansas. They were the last Pac-12 team to crack the national rankings, climbing as high as 17th two weeks ago. However, they fell out of the top 25 the next week and in the current AP poll received one vote. Incidentally that is one more vote than any other conference team received.

Going into the season ASU had to replace its three leading scorers from a year ago, guards Shannon Evans, Tre Holder and Kodi Justice. But with six returning lettermen a pair of high-level transfers Edwards (Cleveland State) and Zylan Cheatham (San Diego State) and a top 20 recruiting class the Sun Devils don’t lack for talent.

“We have mobility we have versatility in our roster. We are a much improved defensive team over last year,” Hurley said last week. “We are one of the better rebounding teams in the country (43.1 per game). So when you may not have your best stuff on offense you can find other ways  to be competitive and we have shown that on numerous occasions this year.”

Jones said the difference in offensive philosophy is noticeable. “Those guys (Holder, Evans, Justice) all shot the ball well, and you didn’t know which one of those guys was going to go off, They still spread out their scoring, but they are not as deadly a shooting team as they have been in the past. It’s more interior than they’ve been in the last three years. They really look to post up and look to attack you more inside out than outside in.”

Cheatham, a 6-8 forward, averages 11.8 and 9.5 rebounds per game and has been particularly effective.

“Zylan from a coaching standpoint is one of the best players in the country to have on your team,” Hurley said. “His leadership, he is in the top one percent in terms of his athleticism. You can play him all over the floor. He can rebound it, he can fast break the floor. He can be the guy filling the lane as fast as anyone can and finish above the rim. His defense, he can guard multiple positions. He is our best rebounder. He checks a lot of boxes.”

Jones described him as a “point forward.”

Dort, (0 above) a 6-4 guard from Ontario, had been perhaps the Pac-12’s biggest surprise in the early season, However, in the last four non-conference games that included a home loss to Princeton, Dort was just 9-for-45 from the floor.  He did regain some form in the two conference games. He is 11-for-25 from the floor, although just 1-for-10 from beyond the three-point line.

“He’s physical,” Jones said Tuesday.. “He’s a freshman but he’s going to bring it to you. He’s tough, aggressive. And that’s their team and that’s our challenge tomorrow night to match their physicality, match their toughness.”

As if to bring the point home, Jones made his players wear mouth guards during practice this week to encourage the pursuit of rebounds and loose balls.

Cal turned the ball over 19 times against UCLA, a total which should improve if point guard Paris Austin is able to play. He sustained an ankle sprain in practice last Friday and could not play the next day. Jones said his availability Wednesday night would be a game-time decision.


On Saturday night Arizona comes to Haas for an 8 p.m. tip. The Wildcats (11-4, 2-0 Pac-12) are in their usual spot atop the league standings going into Wednesday night’s game at Stanford. Sean Miller had to replace his entire starting lineup, but somehow managed to come up with a quality club.

They swept the mountain schools at home in the opening weekend of conference play, although they had to go to overtime to beat Utah, which had several chances to win the game.

Sophomore Brandon Randolph, who leads the ‘Cats in scoring at 16.5 points per game, scored 21 against Utah. He has scored in double figures in all 15 games this season, joining Kris Wilkes (UCLA) and Tres Tinkle (Oregon State) as the only players in the Pac-12 to have scored in double figures in each of their team’s games this season. Randolph leads the league with a 90.2 free throw percentage.

Chase Jeter, a redshirt junior who stands 6-10,  tied his career high with 21 points Saturday and established career highs in rebounds (13) minutes (39) and assists (4). He is second in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage at 65.0.

Under Miller, who succeeded legendary coach Lute Olson nine years ago Arizona has gone 50-31 in conference road games.



Discussion from...

Like the Bears, ASU Shook Up Its Lineup; Will It Do the Same at Haas?

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Cal needs some good wins and beating ASU and U of A would be the first step in the right direction on a long road to reaching .500 in Pac-12.

That is because the current coach is currently 2-19 (losing more than 90% of the games) against Pac-12 opponents.

Go Bears, Beat ASU!

Go Bears, Beat the Mildcats!
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