Gameday Quick Notes: Men's Hoops Faces Syracuse at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2
DAY TWO: The 2021-22 Sun Devil men's basketball squad (2-3) is in the early stages of a solid gauntlet of early season games as it next takes on Syracuse in the Bad Boy Motors Battle 4 Atlantis in Paradise Island in second day action on Thursday, Nov. 25, at 7:30 ET on ESPN2. ASU fell to No. 6 Baylor 75-63 Wednesday. It led 18-12 early and it was tied at 23, but Baylor took advantage of 11 first-half ASU turnovers to run out to a 45-31 halftime lead. ASU's first two losses were by three points total, losing on a 65-footer to UC Riverside (66-65 on Nov. 11) and a tough 65-63 game at San Diego State (Nov. 18) that had 10 lead changes and six ties. Coaching brothers Dan and Bobby Hurley are getting a chance to connect again at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. — AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) November 25, 2021
DJ HORNE SOLID GAME LAST NIGHT: DJ Horne hit a career-high six threes in the Nov. 24 Baylor game and is 14-of-30 (.467) from three on the year and .419 (122-of-291) in his three-year career. He averaged 15.1 ppg. last year at Illinois State and also is a .819 career free throw shooter (59-of-72).
THREE-DOT DATA: Kimani Lawrence has been solid in the first five games averaging 13.6 points and 8.8 rebounds while shooting .592 (29-of-49) with three double-doubles...Jay Heath and Jalen Graham each missed the first two games -- and many practices -- because of COVID protocols...ASU is holding opponents to .396 from the floor...Alonzo Gaffney leads team with nine blocks...Marreon Jackson's 28 assists is team best and he has played in 109 games and is 359-of-434 (.825) at the free throw line...freshman Enoch Boakye has 23 rebounds in just under 59 minutes...Luther Muhammad has started 58-of-70 career games. He started 54 games in his first two years at Ohio State.
HITTING RESET: The Sun Devils have many new faces and a trio of solid returners -- like a lot of college basketball teams. Bobby Hurley is in his seventh year and returns "super" senior Kimani Lawrence (for a fifth year), sophomore Jalen Graham and sophomore Marcus Bagley. Luther Muhammad sat last year to get a shoulder healthy after transferring from Ohio State. The Sun Devils added graduate transfer Marreon Jackson from Toledo (2020-21 MAC Player of the Year in his fifth year of college hoops), along with DI transfers DJ Horne (Illinois State) and Jay Heath (Boston College) and added junior college transfer Alonzo Gaffney, who started his career at Ohio State. Add in freshman Jamiya Neal and Enoch Boakye and ASU started the season with a 10-man rotation, although only seven of them have played in the first four games.
MARREON NOTE: Marreon Jackson averaged 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists last season (2020-21) for Toledo. Since 2009-10, the only other two players to do that are Michigan State's Denzel Valentine (2015-16) and Ohio State's Evan Turner (2009-10). Against Baylor he came close to a backdoor triple-double, with 11 rebounds, 10 assists and five points. He had two triple-doubles 18 days apart in 2020-21. He had 18 points, 10 boards and 11 assists vs. Miami of Ohio on Feb. 16 and then had 22 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists vs. Ball State on March 5. He also just missed another chance on Jan. 16 at Akron with 24 points, nine boards and 10 assists at Akron. How rare is two triple-doubles 18 days? ASU has had two...in its history.
GOOD EARLY: The Sun Devils have been good in November under Coach Hurley -- 20-6 the past five seasons -- as they have jumped out of the gates well. The program captured Las Vegas titles at the 2017 Continental Tire Invitational and at the 2018 MGM Resorts Main Event. It has posted wins vs. Rhode Island and St. John's in Connecticut, Utah State, Mississippi State, Xavier and Kansas State in Las Vegas, Tulane in Orlando and North Carolina State in Brooklyn.
LET'S GET THOSE PEOPLE BACK: Everyone knows 2019-20 and 2020-21 hit the Sun Devil program hard in terms of momentum. In addition to a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance getting canceled in 2020 -- which would have been a first for the program since the early 1960s -- the Sun Devils had turned the corner on attendance. Desert Financial Arena had averaged 10,140 fans in the previous three years starting with the 2017-18 season, with 496,872 fans attending 49 Sun Devil home games, as ASU racked up a 39-10 record. In the three previous seasons in 51 home games ASU averaged 6,087 fans (310,459).
MARREON (SAY IT MAR (LIKE CAR) - REON): Toledo graduate transfer Marreon Jackson entered 2021-22 with 1,817 career points (14.3 ppg.) and 573 career assists. The 2020-21 MAC Player of the Year posted two triple doubles last season and made a school record 41 straight free throws to open the 2020-21 season. He has five 30-point games in career and in the final 10 games of 2020-21 he averaged 19.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists. He shot .904 from the free throw line in 2020-21, eighth-best in the nation as he was 103-of-114 and entered this year a career .824 free throw shooter (346-of-420).
20: One can't take for granted what ASU did from 2017-20. 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 the COVID cut 2019-20 season, 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. 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.
EARLY START: College hoops has changed in the past 30 years. In Bobby Hurley's junior season in 1991-92, Duke's first game was Nov. 25. The 2021-22 season marks the 30-year anniversary of Coach Hurley earning 1992 Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors and ASU will play its sixth game on Nov. 25.
Coaching brothers Dan and Bobby Hurley are getting a chance to connect again at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.
— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) November 25, 2021