Quick Game Notes: @SunDevilHoops Faces No. 1 Seed Oregon Thursday at 11:30 a.m. PT
ASU VS. UO: The No. 8 seeded Sun Devil men's basketball team (11-13; 7-10) topped No. 9 Washington State 64-59 Wednesday in the first game of the 2021 Pac-12 Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and now takes on top-seeded Oregon at 11:30 a.m. PT Thurdsay on Pac-12 Network, with Roxy Bernstein and Don MacLean on the call. This year marks the 24th Pac-12 Tournament and the fifth year at T-Mobile Arena. Arizona State is now 16-7 (.708) in two possesion games the past two seasons, third-best in the leauge behind UCLA (16-4/.800) and Oregon (14-4/.778).
GAME 24 (FEB. 27, 2021) -- ASU 64, WASHINGTON STATE 59: Alonzo Verge Jr. had a season-high 26 points -- including the game-winner with 11 seconds left -- and Jaelen House was everywhere off the bench in leading ASU to the solid win. House had eight points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals and was +13 in his 26 minutes, and his steal late sealed the win. Kimani Lawrence had 13 points in a game that had 17 lead changes as ASU led for 18:47 and WSU led for 18:43. ASU outscored WSU 22-6 in points off turnovers, as the Sun Devils forced 20 and had a season-high 13 steals.
IT IS WHAT IT IS: ASU had two of the top scorers in the Pac-12 returning in Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge and signed top-30 players (Josh Christopher and Marcus Bagley), but those four players have played in just seven games together and in just five since Nov. 27.
ONE YEAR AGO THIS WAS THE 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 (2018 and 2019) and were on way to a third last year, which would have been ASU's first three-year NCAA streak since the early 1960s.
RANDOM: ASU can get some points in a hurry. One of its best halves of hoops was at USC, when it was down 46-44 at the half. How good is that? ASU's 44 first-half points at USC was more than Stanford (42) and Utah (46) scored the whole game.
GAME 15 (FEB. 11, 2021) -- OREGON 75, ASU 64: Oregon never trailed, the game was only tied twice and it led ASU by 17 with just 8:12 left, but ASU cut it to seven with the ball under four minutes but couldn't get any closer. Remy Martin had 30 points, but Oregon forced 14 turnovers and committed only 12 and led in points of turnovers 21-12 and points in the paint 30-20. ASU outrebounded Oregon 43-42 as Kimani Lawrence had 12. Marcus Bagley and Chris Osten both missed the game due to ankle injuries, while Josh Christopher played through a leg bruise and then hurt his back on a block in the first half and played only 17 minutes.
PAC-12 REGULAR SEASON: ASU averaged 73.59 in Pac-12 games this year, second in the league only to Arizona (74.85) and shot .747 from the free throw line (fourth in league)...ASU led the league in turnover margin (+3.88) and was second in steals (6.71) and A/TO ratio (1.25)...Remy led the league with 21.47 points per game...Remy led the league in 30-point games in conference tilts with 31 vs. Washington, 30 at USC and 30 vs. Oregon...Remy had 10 20-point games in Pac-12 play out of 17, which is two better than a trio of players.
REMY: Remy Martin has earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors for the second straight season, after earning second-team honors in his sophomore year and co-Sixth Man of the Year in 2017-18. He joins Ike Diogu as the only Sun Devil to earn All-Pac-12 honors three times. He entered the Pac-12 Tournament leading the lead in scoring (19.9 ppg.), 30-point games (four) and 20-point games (12).
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 seven games averaging 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds...matched career highs in points (22) in the Feb. 23 win over Washington.
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 eight 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 three 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 and Taeshon 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 Osten sprained 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).
QUICK NOTES: Holland Woods is the only Sun Devil to play in every game...ASU is 17-7 in games of six points or less past two seasons...ASU leads the league in turnover margin (+4.35)...Jalen Graham's .573 field goal mark (67-of-117) is fourth-best in the Pac-12...ASU is 144-of-189 (.762) from the free throw line in the past 10 games...Sun Devils have been ready to play the past six, as they are averaging 37.8 points in the first half...Kimani Lawrence started the year 3-of-9 from the foul line but is 31-of-43 (.721) since...ASU has used nine starting lineups on the year.
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
20: While the creation of exempt tournaments and more games has given teams a better chance to reach 20 wins, we won't take for granted what ASU did the previous three seasons. Coming off records in of 23-11 in 2018-19 and 20-12 in 2017-18, ASU notched its third straight 20-win season in 2019-20, something it had done just twice. In James Harden's two seasons ASU went 21-13 (2007-08) and 25-10 (2008-09) and then went 22-11 in 2009-10. You have to go back to 1960-63 for the only other time in ASU history for it to happen, as ASU went 23-6 in 1960-61, 23-4 in 1961-62 and 26-3 in 1962-63, led by another Olympic gold medalist, Jumpin' Joe Caldwell.
QUICK STATS: Prior to its past two NCAA appearances under Bobby Hurley, ASU had made the NCAA Tournament three times in 22 seasons (1996-2017), but the Sun Devils made a run at a third straight for the first time since the early 1960s. It was 9-4 since Jan. 18 last year at season's end, with two of the losses (75-72 at UCLA Feb. 27 and 67-65 at WSU on Jan. 29) decided by three-pointers in the final seconds. ASU had its seven-game Pac-12 win streak -- an ASU first since the 1980-81 team won 11 straight -- ended in the 75-72 great tilt at UCLA on Feb. 27.
ALONZO VERGE TOP SCORING GAMES
43 vs. St. Mary's (12/18/19)
26 vs. Washington State/Pac-12 Tournament (3/10/21)
26 vs. UCLA (2/6/20)
26 vs. #14 Oregon (2/20/20)
SUN DEVIL CAREER SCORING CHART
1. 2,044 – Eddie House, '96-2000
2. 1,984 – Jeremy Veal, '94-98
3. 1,946 – Ike Diogu, '02-05
4. 1,834 – Ron Riley, '92-96
5. 1,797 – Tra Holder, '14-18
6. 1,738 – Remy Martin, '17-present
1. 551 – Derek Glasser, '06-10
2. 461 – Remy Martin, '17-present