Men's Hoops Closes Regular Season at Utah Saturday at Noon on FS1
LAST CALL: The Sun Devil men's basketball team (10-12; 7-9) closes the regular season on Saturday (March 6) with a noon tip at Utah on FS1 with Jim Kozimor and Dan Belloumini on the call. ASU fell at Colorado Thursday 75-61 as CU led 31-30 at the half and ASU led for 17:45 of the game, but CU extended the lead early in the second half. ASU was on a three-game win streak entering the CU game, playing a COVID-induced scheduling pair last week against Washington and then a Saturday overtime game vs. Washington State that Remy Martin ended with three-pointer with 0.4 seconds remaining and a 77-74 win.
Martin enters Saturday averaging 21.7 points in seven road games this year, and his 22.6 ppg. mark last year is sixth-best by a Pac-12 player in the past 25 seasons. Six of Remy's top nine scoring games have come on the road in six arenas. He is averaging 23.6 ppg. in the past 11 games, has 12 20-point games this year and four 30-point games.
REMY MARTIN TOP SCORING GAMES
33 at Princeton (11/26/19)
31 vs. Washington (2/25/21)
31 at Grand Canyon (12/13/20)
31 vs. Arizona (1/31/19)
30 at USC (2/17/21)
30 vs. Oregon (2/11/21)
30 at UCLA (2/27/20)
29 at Oregon (1/11/20)
27 at Arizona (3/9/19)
NCAA NOTE: ASU had been to four NCAA Tournaments (1995, 2003, 2009 and 2014) in 26 seasons (1992-2017) and had not been back-to-back since 1980-81. Remy Martin and Kimani Lawrence went to the Dance in each of their first two seasons and were on way to a third last year, which would have been ASU's first three-year NCAA streak since the early 1960s.
REMY AND VS. UTAH: Remy Martin in five games vs. Utah (ASU is 3-2) is shooting .525 (31-of-59) from the field, 7-of-18 (.389) from three and 10-of-12 (.833) from the free throw line and averaging 15.8 points per game. He has 24 assists and five turnovers vs. the Utes...ASU has won the past two vs. Utah in Salt Lake City and the past two overall and three of the past five...ASU is averaging 86.3 points against Utah in the past six meetings.
KIMANI NOTES: Kimani Lawrence's 21 points and 20 rebounds Feb. 25 vs. Washington is the first 20/20 outing by a Sun Devil since Nov. 19, 1997 (Mike Batiste gave Wagner 36/20)...only 20/20 by a Sun Devil in a Pac-12 game...21 rebounds is second most by a Sun Devil in a Pac-12 game...past six games averaging 16.2 points and 9.5 rebounds...past five games: 17.0 ppg., 10.2 rpg. and is 32-of-53 (.603) from floor...matched career highs in points (22) in the Feb. 23 win over Washington.
QUICK NOTES: Holland Woods is the only Sun Devil to play in every game...ASU is 16-7 in games of six points or less past two seasons...ASU leads the league in turnover margin (+4.60)...Jalen Graham's .596 field goal mark (62-of-104) is xxx-best in the Pac-12...ASU is 136-of-173 (.786) from the free throw line in the past nine games...Sun Devils have been ready to play the past six, as they are averaging 38.9 points in the first half...Kimani Lawrence started the year 3-of-9 from the foul line but is 29-of-40 (.725) since...ASU has used nine starting lineups on the year.
CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS: Coming off a home sweep of the Bay Area Schools (Jan. 28-30) where it had season-highs in blocks (seven vs. California), steals (12 vs. Stanford) and free throw percentage (.882/15-of-17 vs. Stanford), the Sun Devils were feeling decent after a 14-game schedule that had its fair share of hurdles and landmines but the Sun Devil rotation was somewhat getting into gear. A COVID pause THEN canceled the Sun Devils trip to Colorado and Utah and then the afternoon prior to the Oregon Thursday (Feb. 11) game the injury bug took out Marcus Bagley (ankle), Chris Osten (ankle) and limited Josh Christopher (leg bruise) against the Ducks. Christopher injured his back on a high-flying block in the first half and played just under 17 minutes and has missed past seen games. Jalen Graham also missed the Feb. 23 Washington game (illness) and Jaelen House missed the Feb. 25 game (back).
PEOPLE ASK, HERE ARE DETAILS: ASU has not had its full roster for any game this year. Kimani Lawrence missed the first two games after having knee surgery in the fall. Alonzo Verge Jr. missed the next two games (COVID-19 protocol). In that second game, a win at Cal on Dec. 3, Marcus Bagley inured his lower leg and then missed the next thre games, returning to action -- after four other games were canceled/postponed -- on Jan. 7 vs. UCLA. Against UCLA and USC, Jalen Graham was out for mononucleosis, Jaelen House andTaeshon Cherry (COVID-19 protocols) and Remy Martin (grandfather funeral and then COVID-19 protocols) would also miss those tilts. Up in Corvallis on Jan. 16, the team didn't have Jalen Graham (mono) and Taeshon Cherry (personal reasons)...in the Arizona games and then vs. California/Stanford, only Taeshon Cherry remained out. Things were looking good after a two-game win streak against Cal and Stanford, but a COVID pause happened and the day prior to the Oregon Feb. 11 game both Marcus Bagley and Chris Ostensprained ankles while Josh Christopher only played 17 minutes vs. Oregon due to a leg bruise in that same practice and a back injury suffered in the first half. Christopher and Bagley then both sat the Feb. 14 win over Oregon State, the losses at USC (Feb. 17) and UCLA (Feb. 20), the wins over Washington (Feb. 23 and Feb. 25 and the WSU win (Feb. 27)). Jalen Graham also missed the Feb. 23 UW game (illness) while Jaelen House missed the Feb. 25 UW game (back).
JALEN: Jalen Graham went from Dec. 17 to Jan. 21 without playing (35 days) due to opponent COVID protocols (Incarnate Word/Utah), ASU COVID protocols (at UW/WSU) and then mononucleosis (UCLA/USC). His return has been solid, as he had 10 points in 24 minutes vs. Arizona (Jan. 21) and then had his first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds (both career highs) at Arizona (Jan. 25). On Jan. 28 vs. California he had 12 points (6-of-8 FGs) and then had 12 points and five boards vs. Stanford. In his final nine games last year he scored 25 points, he has scored 99 points in his past 11 games.
JALEN GRAHAM PRE-MONO (7 GAMES)/POST-MONO (10 GAMES)
FGS: 17-32 (.531)/40-59 (.678)
JOSH CHRISTOPHER THREE-DOT DATA: Josh Christopher -- the second-best freshman scorer in the Pac-12 entering the weekend who was the only Sun Devil to start in all 15 games before missing the Oregon State Feb. 14 tilt --is averaging 14.3 ppg...shooting .800 (44-of-55) from the free throw line...team's top scorer in three games and top rebounder in four...had season highs of 28 points vs. No. 3 Villanova and 11 rebounds vs. UCLA...12-of-27 (.444) from three past six games...has three 20-point games and one double-double.
SUN DEVIL FRESHMAN PPG
19.0, Ike Diogu, 2002-03
18.5, Jahii Carson, 2012-13
17.8, James Harden, 2007-08
16.1, Luguentz Dort, 2018-19
15.4, Jamal Faulkner, 1990-91
14.3, Josh Christopher, 2020-21
13.6, Byron Scott, 1979-80
WHY THE GAP?: ASU knew its Dec. 18 game with Incarnate Word was off but then had Utah postpone a Tempe game (Dec. 22) and the road trip to WSU (12/31) and UW (1/2) was called off due to ASU COVID reasons. No one is keeping score, but to simply know the facts the first two games were because of opponent reasons and the UW/WSU games were Sun Devil reasons. Oregon paused its program so the Jan. 14 game in Eugene vs. ASU also was postponed. ASU then paused and missed Feb. 4 (Colorado and Feb. 6 (Utah) scheduled games.
LAST YEAR: ASU (20-11 last year), the highest scoring squad in the Pac-12 over the past three seasons (78.1 ppg.) has posted three straight 20-win seasons under Bobby Hurley. It entered this season coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournaments for the first time since 1980-81 and was the only Pac-12 team to make the NCAAs the past two chances. It was on the doorstep of three straight for the first time since the early 1960s prior to the cancellations last March. In 2019-20 ASU led the league in overall games in steals (249 for 8.03 pg), turnover margin (+3.19) and turnovers forced (16.42 pg).
CRAZY STATS FROM A LOSS: ASU's four turnovers at Oregon State tied for the second-fewest by a Sun Devil squad in the past 25 seasons. The loss at Oregon State on Jan. 16 was just the second time in the Bobby Hurley era ASU had shot 50 percent from the field and lost (32-2 at the time).
SUN DEVIL FEWEST TURNOVERS (1996-97 TO PRESENT)
3, vs. Colorado at Pac-12 Tournament (Las Vegas)/Mar. 7, 2018
4 at Oregon State/Jan. 16, 2021
4 at Washington State/Jan. 31, 2013
4 vs. USC, Feb. 15, 2009
FINAL FOUR: Coach Hurley is one of three current head coaches who earned Final Four MOP, one of nine who won the NCAA title as a player, and is the only one to win it twice.
CURRENT HEAD COACHES TO WIN NCAA TITLE AS PLAYER
Steve Alford, Indiana (1987) — Nevada
Kenny Blakeney, Duke (1992) — Howard
Juan Dixon, Maryland (2002 MOP) — Coppin State
Patrick Ewing, Georgetown (1984 MOP) — Georgetown
Bobby Hurley, Duke (1991,1992 MOP) — Arizona State
Steve Masiello, Kentucky (1998) — Manhattan
Wes Miller, North Carolina (2005) — UNC Greensboro
Josh Pastner, Arizona (1997) — Georgia Tech
Mark Pope, Kentucky (1996) — BYU