Bouncing Back: No. 4 ASU shaking off loss to Arizona and heading to high altitude

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Arizona State guard Tra Holder (0) drives to the basket against Arizona during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz. (Source: AP Photo/Ralph Freso) Arizona State guard Tra Holder (0) drives to the basket against Arizona during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz. (Source: AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Coaches have been calling ASU head coach Bobby Hurley from all over the country to express their opinions on last Saturday’s visit to Tucson. 

The Sun Devils fought back from 12 points down against the rival Arizona Wildcats but couldn’t pull out a win, sending ASU home with their first loss of the season.

[READ MORE: Ayton, Trier lead No. 17 Wildcats past No. 3 Arizona State]

"I thought it was very encouraging, just watching the film again. To see how competitive it was despite us not being at our best on offense,” said Hurley. “You wouldn't believe the volume of calls, just people talking about what a tremendous college basketball game it was, Just coaches, friends that you know, your own family members. My brother was the first one to say what a high-level game it was, kind of appreciate his opinion about basketball. Even people locally that you run into were impressed by the quality of the game.”

With Villanova’s loss on Saturday, ASU had a chance to take over the top ranking in the country. This week, the Sun Devils will have to settle for falling to the No. 4 ranking. Senior Tra Holder scored 31 points in the loss but it wasn’t enough.

“It was a one-possession game with one minute left,” said Holder. “We stuck with it and I think we found some things we can use next time. I feel like I’ve got a lot improvement to do as a leader.” 

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ASU opens Pac-12 play with five of seven games on the road. Hurley has cut his team’s recovery time in practice to help simulate the high altitude of Utah and Colorado, knowing how much of a factor it can be from his playing days.

“You can try to pretend that it doesn’t exist but it does,” said Hurley. “Playing the Jazz and the Nuggets, as a player I didn’t get tired too often but it does have an affect on you.”

Hurley tried using a hyperbaric chamber for the Sun Devils last trip to Salt Lake City. It didn’t seem to work, with Hurley giving a laugh and even a frustrated look when thinking about his last trip to Salt Lake City, an 81-46 loss in 2016 where ASU started the game down 30-2.

Hurley says it’s likely that heralded freshman Kimani Lawrence could make his debut on this road trip.

Mark your calendars for Feb. 15 when the Arizona Wildcats come to Tempe for the rematch.

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