Arizona State will try to rebound from a 15-point loss in its season opener to Mississippi State when it hosts Texas Southern on Saturday at Tempe, Ariz.
The Sun Devils (0-1), in Bobby Hurley’s ninth season as the head coach, struggled from 3-point range (shooting 5 of 21) and shot 32.1 percent from the field overall in the 71-56 loss to the Bulldogs in Chicago.
Hurley’s team includes only three returnees from last season and two of them — Jamiya Neal and Frankie Collins — started along with transfers Kamari Lands (Louisville), Jose Perez (West Virginia) and Shawn Phillips Jr. (LSU).
Arizona State’s other returner, Alonzo Gaffney, was in the eight-man rotation with Bryant Selebangue (Tulsa) and junior college transfer Malachi Davis.
Lands had 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field (1 of 5 from beyond the arc) in the loss to Mississippi State.
Perez went 0 of 4 from the field with four rebounds in 33 minutes.
Hurley sticks by his decision to start Perez, a graduate student who is playing for his fifth program in the last six years. He has also played for Manhattan, Marquette and Gardner-Webb.
“(Perez is) a hard-nosed player, he’s going to give you everything he has,” Hurley said. “When our fans watch him play, they’re going to appreciate his work ethic, his toughness.”
Texas Southern (0-1) is coming off a 92-55 loss at New Mexico on Monday.
The Tigers shot 29.4 percent from the field, including 5 of 24 from 3-point range.
Jonathan Cisse and Jaylen Wysinger led the Tigers with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Cisse, a transfer from Incarnate Word, and Wysinger, a junior college transfer, were not with Texas Southern last season when the Tigers upset Arizona State 67-66 in overtime in Houston on Nov. 13.
The Tigers are trying to reach their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament with an influx of talent.
“We’re reloading after losing a great group of young men, three of them starters, and five in total,” said Texas Southern coach Johnny Jones. “It was a nucleus of guys that won three (SWAC) championships.”
–Field Level Media