ASU basketball win streak hits 9 in a row; Hurley: 'We should be a top-25 team'

Dec 18, 2022; Tempe, Ariz., U.S.  Arizona State forward Warren Washington (22) defends against San Diego guard Eric Williams Jr. (50) during the first half at Desert Financial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-Arizona Republic
Dec 18, 2022; Tempe, Ariz., U.S. Arizona State forward Warren Washington (22) defends against San Diego guard Eric Williams Jr. (50) during the first half at Desert Financial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-Arizona Republic

With a win streak on the line, ASU couldn’t afford to take any opponents lightly. But instead of relying on its players to grind out a close win, ASU’s starters took care of the University of San Diego early with an 91-67 win at Desert Financial Arena.

Sunday’s win marked the ninth straight win for ASU (11-1) and could be the tipping point for ASU to get into the AP rankings. With nine-straight wins, ASU has added to its longest win streak since the 12-0 start during the 2017-2018 season. ASU had 39 receiving votes in last week’s AP rankings.

“I think our wins speak for themselves,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said. “We’re 11-1, we’ve won on the road in Colorado, and Creighton and Michigan on a neutral site. VCU is a very good program. We’ve done what we should’ve done and I think that should be rewarded at this point. I know there’s a lot more basketball to be played, but as it stands right now, I think we should be a top-25 team.”

For the players, the prospect of being ranked isn't the driving force for the team's recent success.

“It doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, we got to play," ASU guard Frankie Collins said. "We’ve got to line up with teams throughout the year regardless if we’re top 25 or not. If we’ve got it, great. But we’re not focused on being ranked. We should be ranked, but it doesn’t matter.”

With or without a ranking, ASU's team will continue to relish in its growing identity.

“I feel like as individuals, we have a bunch of guys who are underdogs and I feel like we like that type of identity," ASU center Warren Washington said.

Key plays

ASU’s offense had shaky moments in the first half, but came flowing with Desmond Cambridge Jr. taking over the game at 6:58. Cambridge hit a jumper and then seconds later followed up with a steal in the backcourt before scoring his second field goal in 15 seconds.

ASU kept its lead, but was outscored 10-3 midway through the second half. The dry spell broke once Desmond Cambridge Jr. picked off the ball from Sigu Sisoho Jawara and passed over to Devan Cambridge who set up Frankie Collins at the rim for a 10-point lead at 10:30.

Warren Washington stuffed up the lane against San Diego and translated into offense for his fourth block of the game with Collins picking up the ball and lobbing over to Devan Cambridge for a dunk at 5:34.

Key performers

All five of ASU's starters scored in double figures to lead the offense.

Desmond Cambridge Jr. had a big first half with 18 points, including four 3-pointers.  Cambridge finished with 23 points and shot 5-for-11 from 3. As a whole, the team made 14-of-30 attempts (46.7%).

Devan Cambridge tallied a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Frankie Collins added a double-double of his own with 12 points and 11 assists.

Warren Washington led with five blocks and added 18 points.

They said it

“I think the starters really carried the load offensively. Every game is going to be different. In the Creighton game, I think we outscored their bench 23-7, so the bench came up big in a big game. Tonight it was more the starters that I thought performed well, especially on offense. Des Cambridge was really feeling it and made some shots out there. We did some nice things offensively.” -ASU head coach Bobby Hurley on the key performers. 

“I feel like it’s fight because there’s been games where we could’ve easily been shaky and decided we wanted to lose, but we fought back. I feel like that’s part of our identity also, which is how hard we fight regardless of the score.” -ASU center Warren Washington on the nine-game win streak.

"I don't think we were as aggressive as we usually are as far as attacking the glass and the second and third rotations. I think we just got to go to practice and be better and prepare for San Francisco because defensively today we weren't good." -ASU guard Frankie Collins on the defensive performance.

Up next

The Sun Devils will travel to San Francisco on Wednesday for the final non-conference game of the season. Following the contest, ASU will have 10 days before hosting Arizona at 12 p.m. on December 31.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: ASU men's basketball extends win streak to nine games vs. San Diego