Skip to main content

Despite Loss, Horne's Big Game Sparks Sun Devils

Despite losing to third-ranked Arizona, Arizona State was sparked offensively by a big game from guard DJ Horne.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

With just over four minutes remaining in the first half, Arizona State led third-ranked Arizona by eight points. After a lackluster start to Pac-12 play, it seemed the Sun Devils had finally found their groove. And more important, guard DJ Horne was finding his from the field.

"I just play the flow of the game and if I'm open," Horne said. "If the shots feel good, I take it."

Horne had capped off an 8-0 run with back-to-back made shots from beyond the arc. The guard had come out shooting against the Wildcats, making three of his first four attempts from deep. That kept ASU in the game early, despite a flurry of turnovers. 

The team led 15-8 after Horne's third made three-point shot, then built the lead to 28-20 after his fifth make.

The offensive load was carried by Horne, to say the least. To that point he had a game-high 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field. That accounted for more than half of the Sun Devils' 28 points.

But the lead disappeared just as fast as it came. The Wildcats stormed back with a run of their own over the final minutes of the opening half. By the halftime buzzer, the teams remained locked at 32 points apiece. 

"I was just praying that every second would go off the clock," Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley said. "From the two-minute mark to the end of the buzzer, just get into the locker room.

"I mean we had the eight-point lead and we weren't able to either sustain that margin or at least get a couple-point lead going into the half. I would have liked for us to close the half a little better."

Horne had yet to score since his fifth made three-pointer. He closed the half with 15 points and had attempted only two more shots since his quick start to the game. 

But little did the Sun Devils know that Horne would fail to make another shot from deep. 

The second half brought in a metaphorical blizzard to ASU's hot-shooting offense. The team combined to shoot only 23.5 percent from the field. That, in addition, to an ice-cold half from Horne sank the team's chances of pulling off the upset.

Horne finished 1-of-8 from the floor in the second half and missed all four of his attempts from three-point range. In total, he scored two points in the second half. That was a massive drop from the 15 he contributed in the opening 20 minutes.

That also spelled the end for the Sun Devils, who fell 67-56 to Arizona in Tucson.

"Losing definitely sucks but you play a team like that and the way we came out and played, we were going toe-to-toe with them in the first half," Horne said. "I feel like more a victory than a turnaround in this game."