Another Road Victory For @SunDevilHoops; Martin Buries Three To Beat GCU
By Brandon Jones, ASU Class of 2021
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Trailing by two points with 23 seconds remaining, the Sun Devils were lifted past crosstown Grand Canyon 71-70 by a three-pointer from Associated Press Preseason All-American Remy Martin with nine seconds remaining.
"Coach drew up a great play for me to get a back screen flare off [Taeshon Cherry]," Martin said. "[Alonzo Verge] made a great [baseline] pass [and] drove help [to get me open]. I was just trying to make the best play possible, so I just let it fly and it was my night tonight."
Martin finished with 31 points on 12-of-21 shooting, particularly catching hot toward the end of the first half, where he began heating up after starting 0-4 from the field. As the Lopes took the lead with a three-pointer of their own with under 30 seconds to go, Martin was confident that he could hit the game-winning shot after making 11 of his previous 16 shots.
"[As I release the ball], I'm telling myself it's going in," Martin said. "I just worked extremely hard [this offseason], honestly, and I just let all that take place. At this point, I'm so comfortable being on a court that with all the work hard work that I put in, I just go out there and play hard [and] I just want to make the shot. I just want to make it for the team after a tough loss."
REMY MARTIN TOP SCORING GAMES
33 at Princeton (11/26/19)
31 at Grand Canyon (12/13/20)
31 vs. Arizona (1/31/19)
30 at UCLA (2/27/20)
29 at Oregon (1/11/20)
27 at Arizona (3/9/19)
Throughout the second half, the shots kept barreling in for Martin, and Hurley gave his star player the green light to lead his team to a victory.
"[During] the first half coach was just [hard] on me, just telling me I'm being too passive, and I wasn't taking the shots that I should have took," Martin said. "They were going under ball screens and I had to make them pay. He got me to turn it up in the second half, but I already knew what was on the line.
"I just decided to really take it up a notch and be myself, and it was honestly a team effort. I can't do it all by myself. [My teammates] made shots, Josh [Christopher] made shots, Alonzo [Verge] made some big plays. This is all what it comes down to."
The Sun Devils struggled down low missed the presence of forward Marcus Bagley, who was out for a second straight game with a lower left leg injury. The Lopes outrebounded the Sun Devils 32-27 and also had nearly twice as many free throw attempts with 23 compared to 13 for the Sun Devils. Center Asbjorn Midtgaard finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, and center Alessandro Lever finished with 18 points and four rebounds.
"They threw it inside a few times, they got their [centers] going, they were hitting some threes late," coach Bobby Hurley said. "We didn't get a defensive rebound, [Sean Miller-Moore] got it, and then he [passed] to Blackshear for a three when we were trying to close the [game] out. Their other [center] was able to slip away and get a three, so we didn't really guard the line in those situations as well."
Hurley acknowledged the improvement on the glass from Thursday's loss to San Diego State, but also pointed to Bagley's absence as part of the issue.
"Marcus was our leading rebounder, coming into these last two [games]. Not having that guy definitely impacts what we could do on the backboard. [Grand Canyon] is so big, especially at the center spot. [Midtgaard] is like 7'1" and 270 [pounds], so we wanted everyone digging and swarming to the ball. We were able to get some turnovers in the first half, but just having more guys that are closer to having a chance to get a rebound is going to increase your chances a little bit, so I thought we were a little more efficient in that category today."
The team was happy to come out with a win after a loss to the No. 24 San Diego Aztecs on Thursday.
"I thought we competed really well, battled them, they had some really good [frontcourt players]," Hurley said. "But Jalen Graham and Chris Osten, worked as hard as they could there. I thought pressure was pretty good, we forced 18 turnovers, so that was good to see. And then Remy had a huge spurt there in the second half really showed why he's such a big-time player."
Remy Martin on the atmosphere with Grand Canyon's Home Crowd
"Honestly, as a competitor, [the crowd] maybe made us up the level [of our play] a little bit. I love playing away games, and it was just fun. It made me feel like college basketball was really back. That's just the fun of the college basketball atmosphere, getting to play with fans, getting to play with your teammates, go through adversity, and that last shot almost [went] in. [The fans bring] a whole bunch of energy, and I love it. Our team did a great job handling it, especially the freshmen, and we got the win. That's all that matters. We got a lot to work on, but I'm happy we came out. It's Arizona Territory, so we [have] to make sure [that] we protect it."
REMY MARTIN ON THE GCU CROWD AND ARENA
"They played extremely hard. I knew they wanted to play us as much as we wanted to play them, and the atmosphere was crazy. I could see them coming to Arizona State in the future and have great battles. I just love rivalries just like Arizona, so it'll just be fun to play another one in the home state."
BOBBY HURLEY ON GRAND CANYON CROWD
"I want to congratulate GCU. [The game] reminded me of what basketball was like prior, to COVID-19. There was a level of environment at the game, just with the noise and the limited amount of fans that were in attendance. Their team really fought hard, and I think coach Drew is going to do a great job out here in the Valley. It's a basketball family [in Phoenix] and why we were excited to start the series and I hope that we can continue to do it in the future."
SUN DEVIL ONE-POINT GAMES UNDER BOBBY HURLEY (5-2)
ASU 71, at Grand Canyon 70 (Dec. 13, 2020)
ASU 74, Oregon State 73 (Feb. 22, 2020)
ASU 66, Arizona 65 (Jan. 25, 2020)
Stanford 84, ASU 83 (Mar. 3, 2018)
ASU 83, USC 82 (Feb. 26, 2017)
At Oregon 73, ASU 72 (Feb. 2, 2017)
ASU 78, Colorado 77 (Jan. 5, 2017)
BOBBY HURLEY OPENING STATEMENT
"It was a hard-fought game, I thought we competed really well; we battled them, they had some really good bigs and Jalen Graham and Chris Osten worked as hard as they could there. I thought our pressure was good, we forced 18 turnovers so that was good to see. Remy had a huge spurt in the second half which really showed why he's such a big-time player."
ON OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PERFORMANCE
"They threw it inside a few times, they had their bigs going. We were hitting some threes late, we didn't get a defensive rebound, 0 got it and threw it to Blacksher and hit a three when we were trying to close the game out. Their other big was able to slip away and hit a three so we didn't guard the line in those situations as well. I thought our offense was pretty efficient, liked how we executed on the last possession."
ON LAST PLAY CALL
"I think Remy is always going to be targeted late in games, especially the way he was playing in the second half. It was kind of a misdirection play, Taeshon set a great screen on Remy's man, Zo did a great job trusting the play and found him and hit him right in the hands. The timing was good, and you trust your players in moments like that where they're going to make a big shot."
ON REMY'S CLUTCH PERFORMANCE IN SITUATIONS
"It's how he's wired; he's got a big heart and he wants those moments. Certain guys thrive in those moments and other guys don't handle them as well, but he's proven over and over again that he's that type of guy. It's not surprising that he was as good as he was, but I want to get him connected to the game a little sooner and I thought he might have passed up some things earlier in the game. I'm continuing to talk to him about being the guy that can take over throughout the whole game."