It’s pretty silly to freak out about any single loss. Especially if it comes in the second game of the year. Especially especially when that loss is in a true road game against a veteran Pac-12 team that beat you pretty handily last year.
But if you really must freak out now, well, be my guest. Because whatever the hell just happened to the Aztecs men’s basketball in Tempe — officially a 90-68 loss to Arizona State in a game it led by six at the half — was pretty damn appalling.
Perhaps its fitting that Sun Devils’ head coach Bobby Hurley looks like Vladimir Putin because the second half of this game was a veritable pee tape — a vulgar display debasing everyone involved that will now serve as Kompromat before the NCAA selection committee.
Or the NIT selection committee, whatever.
Pretty much every team of the post Kawhi era at SDSU has had more or less the same M.O. — athletic, but offensively challenged squads that will go through long offensive droughts, but make up for it by playing lock-down defense. This year, Brian Dutcher decided he was going to give up a little defense for a quicker tempo and, in theory, more scoring.
How’s it going so far?
In fairness, the new style of play worked gloriously during the first half, when SDSU roared into intermission with a 40-34 lead. During an 8-minute stretch when it seemed they could do no wrong, the Aztecs forced turnovers, scored in transition and got a red-hot Max Montana open looks to drain four 3s.
After intermission, the Aztecs slipped back into one of their patented offensive lulls — only this time without the safety net of a Steve Fisher defense to keep the game from slipping away.
It’s not just that a 9-point lead turned into a 24-point deficit, it’s how quickly and methodically it all happened. The Sun Devils did it with Tra Holder’s five treys (27 points overall). They did it in the paint, too, with freshman Romello White’s flurry of boards, easy buckets and second chance points.
Basically, everything went to shit, all at once.
Oh, and that was before Montana gruesomely hyper-extended his knee and went down in a heap. He walked off, but we anxiously await results of the impending tests.
Prayers out to Max, indeed.
And prayers out to the rest of us, too.
Look, I’m not throwing in the towel here. It’s very early, and the team is still very much adjusting to its new style and learning how all its new pieces fit together. There is room for growth, and there were flashes in the first half of how it might look when things go right. Hopefully, in four months, we can all go back and laugh at this dumb, alarmist tantrum of a post.
But I am not going to sit here and tell you not to freak out.
Because that was fucking horrendous.