@SunDevilHoops cruises to 100-77 win over Houston Baptist
Coming off a setback against third-ranked Villanova, the No. 18 Sun Devil men's basketball team bounced back in a big way, defeating Houston Baptist 100-77 on Sunday in the squad's 2020-21 home opener.
Eleven players scored with five Sun Devils – Marcus Bagley (21 points/6-9 FGs), Josh Christopher (17 points/8-11 FGs), Remy Martin (16 points/4-7 FGs), Kimani Lawrence (13 points/6-9 FGs), Jaelen House (13/4-7 FGs) – notching double-figure point totals. The quintet combined to shoot 65 percent (28-43).
The Sun Devils (2-1) shot 54.5 percent for the game and scored 30 points off of 23 forced turnovers.
After the two teams split the game's first 16 points, the Sun Devils quickly separated themselves from the Huskies with a 38-7 run to take a 46-15 lead after Caleb Christopher's layup with 6:04 remaining in the half. The scoring run included scoring bursts of 12-0 and 19-0. The first half included a sequence in which the Sun Devils connected on 10-straight field goals and had another stretch in which they knocked down five consecutive 3-point attempts.
Led by Bagley (13 points), Martin (12 points) and House (11 points), the Sun Devils cruised to a 65-31 advantage at the half. ASU connected on 63.9 percent of its field goals. It came just short of matching that percentage from downtown where it was 62.5 percent (10-16) over the first 20 minutes.
The 65 points in the first half tied the third-highest point total in any half by a Sun Devil squad since 1996-97. ASU also scored 65 points in the second half against Houston Baptist on Dec. 10, 1996.
MOST FIRST HALF POINTS SINCE 1996-97
65 vs. Houston Baptist (Nov. 29, 2020)
61 vs. La Salle (Dec. 27, 1997)
58 vs. San Francisco (Nov. 20, 2009)
58 vs. USC (Feb. 13, 2003)
58 vs. Prairie View A&M (Dec. 1, 2001)
57 vs. Houston Baptist (Dec. 10, 1996)
56 vs. UC Irvine (Nov. 19, 2017)
56 vs. Chaminade (Nov. 26, 2002)
56 at American-Puerto Rico (Nov. 26, 1999)
56 vs. Delaware State (Dec. 1, 1997)
The Sun Devils would go on to lead by as many as 45 after Bagley's made free throw made the count 76-31 with 16:29 remaining in the game.
Next up for the Sun Devils is their 2020-21 Pac-12 opener at Cal on Thursday (time and TBD).
MOST POINTS IN A FIRST HALF BY PAC-12 TEAM (SINCE 1996-97)
70, Utah vs Mississippi Valley State (Nov. 8, 2019)
67, Oregon State vs. UC San Diego (Nov. 25, 1997)
65, Arizona State vs. Houston Baptist (Nov. 29, 2020)
65, Washington vs. Loyola Marymount (Nov. 25, 2005)
65, Stanford vs. New Hampshire (Dec. 29, 1999)
65, Arizona vs. Robert Morris (Dec. 28, 1996)
Arizona State Men's Basketball
ASU vs. Houston Baptist
Sunday, 29 November 2020
Coach Bobby Hurley, Kimani Lawrence, and Jaelen House
HEAD COACH BOBBY HURLEY OPENING STATEMENT
"I thought it was a pretty solid and dominant effort. For 24 minutes we really had complete control of the game. I felt like we could name the score at the end if we stayed the course with the rotation and gave some of the other guys a chance to play. I wasn't pleased with how we finished the game, but the majority of those minutes were without any of our true rotation players. I thought it was a good outcome and good effort by us coming off a road trip."
ON KIMANI LAWRENCE'S CONTRIBUTION
"Kimani is going to improve as he gets more reps under his belt and another few days of practice. I'm glad to see him out there, he's a big physical guy who's put on some upper body weight and has rebounded the ball pretty well. I was pleased with what I saw from him considering all the time he's missed."
THOUGHTS ON JAELEN HOUSE'S ENERGY AND WHAT THIS GAME DOES FOR HIS CONFIDENCE
"Without Zo in the lineup, it opened the door, Jaelen had a good practice yesterday. He had a good attitude about not playing, some guys will put their head down, but he came in and had a good day at practice and it certainly carried over onto the floor today. He made some good plays on defense and made some good decision making in the first half especially."
IMPORTANCE OF GETTING A LOT OF PLAYERS IN THE GAME AND WORKING TOGETHER
"When the differential was in the 40s somewhere it shifted my thinking about how I would play the remainder of the half and that's where we started to get guys off the floor without risking something crazy happening. It was good that Kimani got some extra time, Jaelen House after not playing in the Nova game getting more time, we were able to get Caleb Christopher in the game, and we got Pavlo in the game, so I thought it was positive in that regard. I did leave Jalen Graham in a little more than I typically would because he had so many foul issues in Connecticut, so I wanted to keep him out on the floor a little more."
WAS BALL MOVEMENT A POINT OF EMPHASIS AFTER THE TOURNAMENT AND HOW DID THAT PLAY OUT TONIGHT
"I wouldn't necessarily say that as much, we were talking more about our defense and some of those long rebounds we didn't get against Villanova where they were able to tip it back and get an additional possession. I thought that cost us late in the half and we could've been in a very close score at halftime versus Villanova but because of all those offensive rebounds we really hurt ourselves. We talk more about defense and some of the breakdowns we had at that end of the floor. We have guys that can go off the dribble, that can create and going to pass. We don't have selfish guys, so I wasn't surprised that we had that many assists. I'm not going to judge our performance off statistics and assist totals, in our Villanova game I think they had 10 assists and we had nine. The only stat that matters is the final score, and we weren't able to win that game. But it is good to see that our guys are hitting shots off of somebody's passes. We shot really well from three in the first half, not sure of the totals but we had good totals early in the game."
JAELEN HOUSE'S ROLE
"There was an opportunity for him to play today and he proved in quality minutes, not mop up minutes, that he can be a difference maker. He will come in and create some plays on defense with how he competes on that end of the court and he did a good job finding his teammates too. He made a couple shots, but I need him to be more of a distributor and facilitator, a guy who's going to get in the paint and kick out to his teammates and we've been talking to him about that for a while. I thought he put together a good a stretch in the first half as anybody on our team, so it's a testament to him staying ready and being prepared when he gets his opportunity."
ALONZO VERGE'S STATUS
"I would call him day-to-day at the moment. I don't know what has been reported or what you guys know but it's not a disciplinary issue and he's not hurt."
IS THE OFFENSE 'SCARY' CONSIDERING THIS WAS WITHOUT ZO?
"You saw what we're capable of doing, it was a really solid performance considering we didn't have one of our key scorers. We turned them over 17 times in the first half so it's not only our fire power on offense but our commitment to activity on defense and trying to force some tempo which we were able to do and that got us out in the open court some."
WILL TEAM HAVE TO IMPROVE FREE THROW PERCENTAGE IN PAC-12 PLAY?
"We definitely didn't need it in this game but yes that's something we talk about quite a bit. In big games against quality opponents you have to connect, and we didn't do a great job on that against Villanova, a game where we needed all those points. We're going to have to step up to the line and do a better job of connecting."
WHAT DOES A WIN LIKE THIS DO FOR TEAM'S MORALE?
"I'm kicking myself a little bit to be honest, I think I jumped the gun three minutes too soon on getting our core rotation guys out of the game and should've let that develop a little more. The mood wasn't fantastic after the game because the majority of the game we were dominant, but we were awful the last 12 minutes. It's tough because you want to put together a complete game, a complete 40 minutes, and that's what we need to do to beat anybody that's any good and we played about 24 minutes of really good basketball but not so good at the end.
DID PREVIOUS GAMES PREPARE YOU FOR UPCOMING CONFERENCE PLAY?
"It's a big ask to fly across country and play and be really tested in both games. It's right out of shoot for our newer guys to get that experience under their belt and to come back home. I was concerned coming into this game, not for the opponent, but how we would've handled the travel and long trip or playing back-to-back days. I think we handled it pretty well and now we have a couple of days to prepare for our first Pac-12 game."
KIMANI LAWRENCE QUOTES
HOW'S THE KNEE AND WHAT IT WAS LIKE RETURNING?
"My knee is good, I felt really confident in the work I put in in physical therapy and recovery. I wasn't really thinking that much when I was out there playing, I was confident, wasn't trying to second guess it or psych myself out of anything."
WHEN WAS SURGERY AND WHAT DID YOU DO WHILE TEAM WAS ON THE ROAD?
"I got surgery September 1st. I was doing physical therapy and working out in the gym. I did a lot of lifting, building strength and trying to stay sharp. If I traveled with the team, with COVID restrictions, I wouldn't have been able to work out or get into any gyms so I thought it was best for me to stay behind and prepare for the games coming up because I know I will be playing."
THOUGHTS ON DEFENSIVE PERFORMANCE AND POTENTIAL FOR TEAM DEFENSIVELY
"The full court pressure turned things around for us in the first half and it really energized us. We have a lot of guards; really quick and athletic guys and we will be able to use that to our advantage. We got a lot of depth so once one guy is tired the next man is up and this will just be non-stop defensive pressure. Once our offense is on and our shots start to fall, we can rely on that defensive pressure to get us through games."
WAS IT GOAL OR EMPHASIS TO MOVE BALL AROUND TONIGHT?
"Definitely, that's always a goal for us. We have a lot of guys that are talented, a lot of guys that can do a lot of things with the ball. Of course, everyone feels they can take their man one-on-one but us utilizing each other, making each other better, and making each other look good is what wins games. That's the difference between a championship team and a mediocre team.
DID TEAM FEEL AS IF THEY WEREN'T MOVING THE BALL WELL ENOUGH IN CONNECTICUT?
"There was definitely talk amongst us to put emphasis on moving the ball. We didn't move the ball as well as we usually do or as well as we have in the offseason or practices. We have a lot of new, young guys on the team that are just learning with each other and taking it game by game and correcting mistakes. Once we get to conference play, a lot of things will be cleaned up and we'll be sharper as a group."
WAS THERE AN EMPHASIS TO BE AGGRESSIVE ON THE BOARDS?
"Definitely, that was something we have to work on as a team. Crashing the boards is something we struggled with last year and is definitely a big emphasis this year. Especially with the guys we got we have to help the bigs out on the board."
HOW MUCH CAN YOU HELP WITH REBOUNDS?
"That's one of the big things I'm focused on this year, that and defense. Just being able to be that presence like Z (Zylan Cheatham) was for us my sophomore year, being that presence, crashing the boards, and staying aggressive; giving us something we've missed in our game against Villanova, someone that can hit the boards and someone to rely on."
IMPORTANCE ON FINDING RHYTHM IN FIRST GAME BACK AFTER INJURY
"It was nice. It had its challenges, it's easy for me to go out there and just do whatever I want because I feel like I'm better. I had to stay disciplined and do things that I would do against better opponents and play with the flow of the offense; do things that would translate to bigger games."
WHAT DOES JAELEN HOUSE GIVE WHEN HE'S AT HIS BEST?
"He gives us a spark off the bench, a spark defensively and offensively, and gives a lot of energy. If we come off flat, we can depend on him to come into the game and turn us around and he puts a battery in everybody's backs when we need it the most."
JAELEN HOUSE QUOTES
HOW HAVE YOU WORKED ON YOUR SHOT AND HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO LAST YEAR?
"I was getting a lot of reps up, working on my game and game situations. I feel really confident in my shot now because I put the work in."
MOST SATISFYING PERSONAL GAME STATISTIC
"At heart I like to score the ball, but I like to get my team going so maybe the steals and assists."
THOUGHTS ON YOUR VALUE AS AN ENERGY BRINGER TO THE TEAM
"I feel like I can do that, I've got a lot of energy coming off the bench. I hardly get tired; I work on my wind so when my number is called I can provide energy for the team."
DO YOU PAY ATTENTION TO PLUS-MINUS STAT?
"No. I don't think that really matters. It never mattered to me honestly."
DID BOBBY TALK TO YOU ABOUT WHY YOU DIDN'T PLAY AGAINST VILLANOVA?
"No, it happens. Sometimes you don't play, I just need to be ready when my number is called and that's what happened tonight."
CONFIDENCE AFTER TONIGHT'S PERFORMANCE MOVING FORWARD
"It definitely helps, but I got confidence from putting the work in. Not just one game gives me confidence."
HOW DO YOU VIEW YOURSELF IN PLAY MAKING?
I'm a really good play maker when it comes down to it. I have a really good IQ coming from a basketball family; I know a lot of stuff that some people don't, and I think that my eyes are really good too."
QUOTING HBU COACH RON COTTRELL
"I thought our guys came out and competed hard to start the game and really played pretty well for the first seven minutes or so then we hit a stretch and didn't do a very good job on three-point defense and let them have some open looks. We just didn't do a good job running them off the line and that got them going offensively. We made some adjustments at the half and we got them off the line a little bit more. I thought we were much more aggressive defensively and got more in the flow in the second half offensively. We've got to get our post guys more involved and make the defense collapse on the paint to help open the floor up. Our guards did a really good job attacking in the second half."
MOST POINTS IN ANY HALF SINCE 1996-97
72 (second) vs. Citadel (Nov. 23, 2016)
67 (second) vs. Delaware State (Dec. 1, 1997)
65 (first) vs. Houston Baptist (Nov. 29, 2020)
65 (second) vs. Houston Baptist (Dec. 10, 1996)
63 (second) vs. Wagner (Nov. 19, 1997)
63 (second) vs. Jacksonville (Nov. 22, 1996)
SERIES HISTORY (ASU LEADS 4-0)
ASU 100, Houston Baptist 72 (Nov. 29, 2020)
ASU 98, Houston Baptist 79 (Dec. 19, 2015)
ASU 73, Houston Baptist 55 (Nov. 25, 2010 @Alaska Shootout)
ASU 122, Houston Baptist 70 (Dec. 10, 1996)
NOVEMBER HAS BEEN GOOD: The Sun Devils are now 17-3 (.850 )in November the past four seasons (AKA the Remy Martin era). The wins include six away from home and five over eventual NCAA Tournament teams, including 2019 NCAA Tournament teams Utah State and Mississippi State in November of 2018, 2018 No. 1 seed Xavier, eventual 2018 Elite Eight bound Kansas State and always good San Diego State.