First Four: Arizona State fills it up to rout Nevada and move on to face TCU

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Arizona State missed shots in the First Four finale Wednesday night, but you had to pay close attention to notice.

Bobby Hurley’s Sun Devils shot 63.6%, including 52.4% (11 of 21) from three-point range to roll to a 98-73 victory over Nevada in a battle of No. 11 seeds at UD Arena.

The Sun Devils (23-12) advance to face No. 6 TCU at 10:05 p.m. Friday in Denver in the West regional.

D.J. Horne made 7 of 10 shots and 4 of 5 threes to lead the Sun Devils with 20 points. Jamiya Neal came off the bench to make 6 of 7 shots and score 16 points. Desmond Cambridge Jr. added 17 points and Devan Cambridge 15. Former Ohio State player Luther Muhammad came off the bench to score 12.

Nevada coach Steve Alford knows about good shooting. He was an All-American sharpshooter for Bob Knight’s 1987 national championship team at Indiana. All he could do in the first half was stand on the sideline with his arms folded and watch Arizona State light up the arena.

The Sun Devils (23-12) made 11 of their first 15 shots to build a 25-15 lead. Nevada (22-11) was 5 of 8, but six turnovers to none for the Sun Devils made the difference. When the score reached 41-22, ASU was shooting 70.8%. Ten more points concluded a 17-0 run to push the lead to 51-22.

For the half, ASU made 21 of 31 shots, including 8 of 14 from three-point range. Nevada made 6 of 12 3-pointers but scored only four points in the paint against the bigger Sun Devils and shot 33.3% overall.

If the Sun Devils shoot well again and continue to play the kind of defense they have all season, TCU will be on upset alert. During the season they were 15th in the country in field goal percentage defense at 39.8% and fifth among tournament teams. Maybe it was just one of those nights for both teams. Nevada shot 48.1%, including 52.4% (11 of 21) from three-point range and still lost.

Will Baker led the Wolfpack with 17 points, Tre Coleman scored 14 and Darrion Williams had 12.

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