Sun Devils Top Rhode Island 94-88 in Season Opener
Remy Martin in season openers for @SunDevilHoops:
Last season: 23 pts, 9 reb, 8 ast
This season: 26 pts, 6 reb, 5 ast
He's the first major conference player to have 20/5/5 in back-to-back season openers since Georgia Tech's Matt Harpring did it in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) November 26, 2020
Remy Martin posted 26 points and freshman Marcus Bagley added 16 as the Sun Devils raced out to a 16-point lead and then fought back after falling behind to knock off feisty Rhode Island 94-88 at the Empire Classic in Uncasville, CT at Mohegan Sun.
The Sun Devils jumped out to a 16-point lead with just under six minutes to go in the first half, but Rhode Island took the lead late in the second half.
Tied at 86 with about three minutes to go, junior college transfer Chris Osten grabbed an offensive rebound put back the layup and drew a foul, going to the line and giving ASU a three-point lead.
"Chris, overall, was huge tonight," said head coach Bob Hurley. "He doesn't miss practice, works his (butt) off every day. Karma is good to people like that."
REMY MARTIN TOP SCORING TILTS
33 at Princeton (11/26/19)
31 vs. Arizona (1/31/19)
30 at UCLA (2/27/20)
29 at Oregon (1/11/20)
27 at Arizona (3/9/19)
26 vs. Rhode Island (11/25/20)
Remy Martin went off last night! pic.twitter.com/N5p9vDS1NZ
— Courtside Films (@CourtsideFilms) November 26, 2020
Holding a 91-88 lead, Martin put the game away with the help of the two most lauded freshmen, Josh Christopher and Marcus Bagley. Martin dished the ball off to Bagley down low, who got fouled and hit a free throw to extend the lead.
"It just feels good to play basketball again."
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) November 26, 2020
On Rhode Island's next possession, Christopher drew an offensive foul to give ASU the ball back and then Portland State transfer Holland Woods iced the game with a steal and layup.
Bagley was 10-for-14 from the free throw line in his debut and finished with 16 points, all of which either came from the stripe or behind the 3-point line.
"It was surreal at first," Bagley said. "I've dreamed about playing for Arizona State and to finally be out there with ASU across my chest felt amazing."
SUN DEVIL TWO POSSESSION GAMES PAST TWO SEASONS (11-3)
ASU 84, Rhode Island 88 (Nov. 25, 2020/Mohegan Sun)
at UCLA 75, ASU 72 (Feb. 27, 2020)
ASU 74, Oregon State 73 (Feb. 22, 2020)
ASU 77, Oregon 72 (Feb. 20, 2020)
ASU 80, at California 75 (Feb. 16, 2020)
ASU 74, at Stanford 69 (Feb. 13, 2020)
ASU 66, USC 64 (Feb. 8, 2020)
ASU 87, Washington 83 (Feb. 1, 2020)
at Washington State 67, ASU 65 (Jan. 29, 2020)
ASU 66, Arizona 65 (Jan. 26, 2020)
ASU 82, at Oregon State 76 (Jan. 9, 2020)
ASU 71, at San Francisco 67 (Dec. 3, 2019)
ASU 67, at Princeton 65 (Nov. 26, 2019)
Virginia 48, ASU 45 (Nov. 24, 2019/Mohegan Sun)
It marked the first time since November of 2007 that more than one freshmen were in the opening game starting lineup for ASU. James Harden, Ty Abbott and Jamelle McMillan all started in the Maui Invitational against Illinois.
SENIOR HAD TO STAY HOME
Senior Kimani Lawrence stayed home from the trip to continue to work on his knee that he had surgery on in the fall.
HEAD COACH BOBBY HURLEY
"I think it's a typical first game, they have big expectations, and they were so juiced to play the game. They had moments where they really excelled and made some big plays. I thought Josh's charge he was able to get at the end was a winning play for us. Marcus did a really good job getting to the free throw line, was very active, and defended really well for us. For their first game with all the travel and flying across country we got a good win and they were a part of it."
"I think we came out with great energy on defense. We did a good job in the first half with creating turnovers, we forced 11 and we had a nice advantage. It was very difficult for me in the first half juggling six or seven guys with two fouls and figuring out how to play. I had some unique lineups in there that we've never had in practice and considering it was our first game I was happy. We made some plays on offense that led to them getting some easy baskets and we let them back in the game with a seven-point deficit and holding Fatts Russell to two points in the first half, I think we should've had a bigger advantage going into the half. I had a feeling once that happened that we were going to be in for a tight game the rest of the way.
HOW BIG WAS CHRIS OSTEN'S PUTBACK?
"I think Chris overall was huge tonight, especially with Jalen Graham picking up two fouls in the first two minutes of the half, so he had to play heavy minutes. He's a guy that I've said in my press conferences that doesn't miss practice, he's in practice every day and he works his ass off every day. Karma is good to people like that, he had great position, had a great finish, he made his free throws and was a presence in the paint for us. He did excellent work for his first collegiate game today.
THOUGHTS ON THE TEAM'S DEFENSIVE INTENSITY
"I thought we were really good in the first half. Our ability to create turnovers and we were active with deflections and using our speed to cover the court. I wasn't pleased in the second half the way we came out and gave up rolls to the basket for uncontested dunks, they probably had four or five dunks in the second half. Our help defense wasn't there and we weren't active in their ball screen coverage, so there's a lot of things we have to improve on that end of the court moving forward. We'll watch some film and move on and get ready for tomorrow."
THOUGHTS ON TAESHON CHERRY AND HIS PLAY IN GENERAL
"Tae was really good, he was active and competitive and was hitting some big threes for us. He had a nice drive and finish, his energy was outstanding, so I figured I'd join him and get a T too so he wasn't alone and had some company today (smiling and joking).
(What did it feel like as you entered your first college game?)
"It was surreal at first, like I said in previous interviews, I've dreamed about playing for ASU, so to finally be out there with ASU across my chest felt amazing. But I also had to lock in and do whatever I could to help our team get a W and we did that.".