Men's Hoops Hosts Undefeated San Francisco Sunday at 4 p.m.
UNDEFEATED DONS: The Sun Devil men's basketball squad (5-6; 1-1) continues its tough gauntlet of early season tilts as it next hosts undefeated San Francisco (10-0 as of Dec. 17) on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 4 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network. ASU is on a three-game win streak as it is holding opponents to .369 shooting (69-of-187) and just .215 (17-of-79) from the three-point stripe in the past three games while shooting .822 from the free throw line (37-of-45).
CLOSE GAMES: Coach Hurley's Sun Devils have done a good job of winning close games, and it got one on Dec. 5 at Oregon with a 69-67 win, followed it up with a 67-62 win over 2021 WAC Champion Grand Canyon on Dec. 9 and then won 58-57 at Creighton on Dec. 14. 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. ASU is now 14-6 in Pac-12 two-possession games the past three years, and 20-9 overall. ASU now has 18 wins in games decided by five points or less in that time, tied with Western Kentucky for the most in the nation.
SCHEDULE: By playing Baylor, Syracuse and Loyola in the Battle 4 Atlantis, ASU is in a nine-game stretch where it is playing seven 2021 NCAA Tournament teams, with the outliers being Washington State (7-4) and San Francisco (10-0) on Dec. 19. ASU has played at last year's MWC champion (San Diego State), defending NCAA champ (Baylor), Syracuse (Sweet 16), Loyola (Sweet 16), Pac-12 champion (Oregon), WAC champion (GCU) and Creighton (Sweet 16).
AT THE LINE: ASU's backcourt of Marreon Jackson (23-of-24), DJ Horne (11-of-11), Jay Heath (21-of-24), Luther Muhammad (12-of-14) and Jamiya Neal (7-of-10) are a combined 76-of-85 (.894) at the free throw line.
STAT FROM CREIGHTON WIN: ASU has changed its attitude about OOC road games under Bobby Hurley with some big wins. ASU is 9-3 in OOC road games under Coach Hurley, as it was 8-22 in its previous 30 OOC road tilts.
TOP OOC ROAD RECORDS IN BOBBY HURLEY ERA (2015-16 TO PRESENT/10 GAMES MIN.)
Arizona State, 9-3/.750
SUN DEVILS IN OOC ROAD GAMES UNDER BOBBY HURLEY (9-3)
ASU 58, Creighton 57 (Dec. 14, 2021)
San Diego State 65, ASU 63 (Nov. 18, 2021)
ASU, 71, Grand Canyon 70 (Dec. 13, 2020)
ASU 71, San Francisco 67 (Dec. 3, 2019)
ASU 67, Princeton 65 (Nov. 26, 2019)
Vanderbilt 81, ASU 65 (Dec. 17, 2018)
#20 ASU 76, Georgia 74 (Dec. 15, 2018)
#16 ASU 95, #2 Kansas 85 (Dec. 10, 2017)
ASU 74, San Diego State 63 (Dec. 10, 2016)
ASU 66, UNLV 56 (Dec. 16, 2015)
#5 Kentucky 72, ASU 58 (Dec. 5, 2015)
ASU 79, Creighton 77 (Dec. 2, 2015)
GOOD DJ: DJ Horne hit a career-high six threes in the Nov. 24 Baylor game and is 29-of-70 (.414) from three and .414 (137-of-331) in his three-year career. He averaged 15.1 ppg. last year at Illinois State and is a .840 career free throw shooter (68-of-81). He sent the Dec. 5 Oregon game into overtime with a three-pointer with under four seconds left, a game in which he had season-high 23 points, six rebounds and three assists.
THREE-DOT DATA: Kimani Lawrence has been solid averaging 10.7 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting .516 (49-of-95) with five 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 .403 shooting...Alonzo Gaffney leads team with 17 blocks...Marreon Jackson's 46 assists is team best and he has played in 138 games and is 369-of-444 (.831) at the free throw line...freshman Enoch Boakye has 40 rebounds in just over 130 minutes (7.7 per game over 40 minutes)...Luther Muhammad has started 66-of-74 career games. He started 54 games in his first two years at Ohio State before sitting last year at ASU with a shoulder injury.
GOOD EARLY: The Sun Devils have been good in November under Coach Hurley. 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.
RESET: The Sun Devils have many new faces and a trio of 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, junior 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.
QUICK NOTES ON COACH HURLEY AT ASU: Posted third straight 20-win season in 2019-20 for just the third time in program history...top two average attendance marks in ASU history, including ASU-best 10,603 in 2017-18...2019-20 COVID-shortened season saw ASU (20-11) post its first seven-game Pac-12 win streak since the 1980-81 team won 11 straight...entered season with 28 halftime comebacks in his six years, tops in the Pac-12...11-7 in the Pac-12 in 2019-20 after going 12-6 in 2018-19, just the second time in the previous 25 seasons the Sun Devils posted back-to-back winning Pac-12 records...best two non-conference wins in school history vs. No. 1 Kansas on Dec. 22, 2018 and at No. 2 Kansas on Dec. 10, 2017...reached NCAA Tournament for just fourth time in 23 seasons in 2018 and then followed it with back-to-back appearances for the first time since 1980-81 in 2019...in November of 2017, defeated two eventual 2018 NCAA Tournament No. 1 seeds in a span of a two weeks (Kansas and Xavier)...matched the highest Associated Press ranking in school history (third) in December of 2017.
PEEPS IN SEATS: 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 -- ASU had turned the corner on attendance. Desert Financial Arena averaged 10,140 fans in the three years starting with 2017-18, with 496,872 fans attending 49 Sun Devil games, as ASU racked up a 39-10 record. In the three previous seasons in 51 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 played its sixth game on Nov. 25.
KIMANI: The final eight games last year and this year have been good for Kimani Lawrence. In his past 19 games that started on Feb. 20, 2021, Kimani is averaging 11.8 points and 8.2 rebounds and is shooting 90-of-160 (.563) from the field with six double-doubles. Five of his top seven scoring games have come in the past 18 games. He had 21 points and 20 rebounds on Feb. 25, 2021, vs. Washington which was the first 20/20 outing by a Sun Devil since Nov. 19, 1997 (Mike Batiste gave Wagner 36/20) and the only 20/20 by a Sun Devil in a Pac-12 game. The 21 rebounds is second-most by a Sun Devil in a Pac-12 game. He also matched a career highs in points (22) in the Feb. 23 win over Washington. He posted double digits in 14 games in 2018-19 and his best game was 22-point effort vs. Mississippi State in Las Vegas on Nov. 19, 2018, including the game-winning three-pointer with the scored tied and 29 seconds left.
PAC-12 20/20 GAMES (1996-97 TO PRESENT)
Kimani Lawrence, ASU vs. Washington (Feb. 25, 2021) -- 21/20
Deandre Ayton, Arizona vs. Califxornia (Mar. 3, 2018) – 26/20
Noah Dickerson, UW vs. E. Washington (Nov. 12, 2017) – 28/22
Josh Hawkinson, WSU vs. Washington (Jan. 6, 2016) -- 21/20
Matt Maryasz, Stanford vs. Oregon (Jan. 20, 2005) – 20/20
Mike Batiste, ASU vs. Wagner (Nov. 19, 1997) – 36/20
Tim Young, Stanford vs. Oregon (Jan. 16, 1997) – 20/21
Todd MacCullouch, UW vs. UCLA (Jan. 31, 1999) – 26/21
Todd MacCullouch, UW vs. ASU (Jan. 8, 1998) – 30/21
Curtis Borchardt, Stanford vs. Arizona (Feb. 2, 2002) – 25/21
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 (1991) — Howard
Juan Dixon, Maryland (2002 MOP) — Coppin State
Patrick Ewing, Georgetown (1984 MOP) — Georgetown
Bobby Hurley, Duke (1991,1992 MOP) — Arizona State
Nate James, Duke (2001) — Austin Peay
Steve Masiello, Kentucky (1998) — Manhattan
Wes Miller, North Carolina (2005) — Cincinnati
Josh Pastner, Arizona (1997) — Georgia Tech
Mark Pope, Kentucky (1996) — BYU
GETTING BUCKETS: ASU has averaged 77.3 ppg. in the previous four seasons, the best mark in the Pac-12 in that time. In the four years prior to Bobby Hurley's arrival at ASU, the Sun Devils averaged 69.5 points per game, seventh in the Pac-12.
THAT COVID SEASON CUT SHORT HURT: Prior to its past two NCAA appearances (2018 and 2019) under Bobby Hurley, ASU had made the NCAA Tournament three times in 22 seasons (1996-2017), but the Sun Devils were on their way for third straight for the first time since the early 1960s when the world stopped in March of 2020. It was 9-4 since Jan. 18 in 2019-20 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 also had a seven-game Pac-12 win streak, ASU's first since the 1980-81 team won 11 straight.
ABOUT THAT GSR: Sun Devil Athletics has earned a new all-time high of 92 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for its student-athletes, announced by the NCAA on Dec. 2. Sun Devil Athletics has either maintained or surpassed its all-time best GSR every year since 2008 and is tied for third in the Pac-12 Conference. The men's basketball team was one of 10 Sun Devil teams that posted GSR scores at 100 percent. Here are the Sun Devils who contributed to the perfect score.
MEN'S BASKETBALL DEGREES EARNED (2011-15 COHORT)
Zylan Cheatham, B.A., Liberal Studies (2019)
Tra Holder, B.S., Sociology (2018)
Shannon Evans II, B.S., Communication (2017)
Torian Graham, B.A., Liberal Studies (2017)
Kodi Justice, B.S., Sociology (2017)
Obinna Oleka, B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies (2017)
Maurice O'Field, B.S., Sociology (2017)
Eric Jacobsen, B.S., Communication (2016)
Gerry Blakes, B.S., Communication (2016)
Willie Atwood, B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies (2016)
Jon Gilling, B.A., Communications (2015)
Savon Lloyd-Goodman, B.S., Sociology (2015)
Sai Tummala, B.S., Biological Sciences, Animal Physiology and Behavior/Honors College (2015)
DOWN GOES RANKED TEAM: ASU has defeated eight ranked teams in Bobby Hurley's Sun Devil tenure, including five out of conference. The Nov. 24, 2017, win over No. 15 Xavier was the highest ranked non-conference team ASU had topped since it beat No. 7 Maryland in the 1994 Maui Invitational...until it won at #2 Kansas on Dec. 10 two weeks later...until it beat #1 Kansas on Dec. 22, 2018. Prior to Coach Hurley's five OOC wins vs. ranked teams in his first five seasons, ASU's had six in the previous 37 seasons.
ASU OOC WINS VS. RANKED TEAMS PAC-10/12 ERA
#18 ASU 80, #1 Kansas 76 (Dec. 22, 2018)/Bobby Hurley
ASU 72, #15 Mississippi State 67 (Nov. 19, 2018)/Bobby Hurley
#16 ASU 95, @#2 Kansas 85 (Dec. 10, 2017)/Bobby Hurley
ASU 102, #15 Xavier 86 (Nov. 24, 2017 at Las Vegas)/Bobby Hurley
ASU 67, #18 Texas A&M 54 (Dec. 5, 2015)/Bobby Hurley
ASU 79, #25 Marquette 77 (Nov. 25, 2013)/Herb Sendek
ASU 77, #17 Xavier 55 (Dec. 15, 2007)/Herb Sendek
ASU 97, #7 Maryland 90 (Nov. 23, 1994 at Maui)/Bill Frieder
ASU 79, #13 Michigan 62 (Nov. 22, 1994 at Maui)/Bill Frieder
#14 ASU 71, #7 Ohio State 58 (Dec. 20, 1980)/Ned Wulk
ASU 96, #12 Iowa 88 (Dec. 6, 1980)/Ned Wulk
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) last year. His return was 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). Graham started the season 7-of-20 (.350) from the free throw line in his first eight games, but finished 19-of-25 (.760) in his final 11.
GETTING BUCKETS: ASU has averaged 77.3 ppg. in the past four seasons, the best mark in the Pac-12 in that time. When he was hired he promised to pick up the pace. In the four years prior to his arrival at ASU, the Sun Devils averaged 69.5 points per game, seventh in the Pac-12.
PAC-12 PPG PAST FOUR SEASONS (2017-18 THROUGH 2020-21)
Arizona State, 77.3
Oregon State, 72.0
Washington State, 71.7
GONNA' PLAY FOLKS: Bobby Hurley is going to play some folks as it has faced eight non-conference top-10 opponents at ASU, after ASU faced one in the previous 17 seasons. In his first year after looking at a schedule he inherited that included tilts against NC State in Brooklyn, at Creighton, at UNLV and against eventual No. 18 Texas A&M, he put the wheels in motion to play at Kentucky and filled a holiday break hole that could have been a yawner with Stephen F. Austin. In 2016-17, the squad played No. 1 Kentucky in the Bahamas, Purdue in New York City, at San Diego State, and finished a series with No. 9 Creighton. Kansas returned a trip to Tempe in December of 2018 after ASU's win on Dec. 10, 2017.
ASU REGULAR SEASON OOC GAMES VS. TOP-10 TEAMS (SINCE JOINING PAC-10) UNDER BOBBY HURLEY (8 IN SEVEN SEASONS)
#6 Baylor 75, ASU 63 (Nov. 24, 2021)
#3 Villanova 83, ASU 74 (Nov. 26, 2020)
#7 Virginia 48, ASU 45 (Nov. 24, 2019)
#18 ASU 80, #1 Kansas 76 (Dec. 22, 2018)
#16 ASU 95 @#2 Kansas 85 (Dec. 10, 2017)
#9 Creighton 96, ASU 85 (Dec. 20, 2016)
#1 Kentucky 115, ASU 69 (Nov. 28, 2016 at Bahamas)
@#5 Kentucky 72, ASU 58 (Dec. 12, 2015)
PRIOR TO BOBBY HURLEY (8 IN 37 SEASONS)
#7 Duke 64, ASU 53 (Nov. 25, 2009 at MSG)
#2 Kansas 90, ASU 88, OT (Nov. 26, 1997 at MSG)
ASU 97, #7 Maryland 90 (November 23, 1994 at Maui)
@#8 Oklahoma St. 87, ASU 69 (December 2, 1993)
@#9 Kentucky 94, ASU 68 (December 14, 1991)
@#2 Kansas 90, ASU 67 (December 22, 1989)
#10 North Carolina 85, ASU 66 (December 23, 1984 at Tokyo)
#6 Missouri 48, ASU 47 (December 27, 1982 at Honolulu)
GOOD NOTE: ASU has defeated eight ranked teams in Bobby Hurley's six seasons, but it trailed at the half in five of the wins, including both wins over Kansas.
ASU WINS VS. RANKED TEAMS UNDER BOBBY HURLEY (ASU DEFICIT AT HALF)
ASU 77, #14 Oregon 72 (Feb. 20, 2020)
ASU 66, #22 Arizona 65 (Jan. 25, 2020)--Arizona 43, ASU 30
#18 ASU 80, #1 Kansas 76 (Dec. 22, 2018)--Kansas 39, #18 ASU 31
ASU 72, #15 Mississippi State 67 (Nov. 19, 2018/Las Vegas)
#16 ASU 95, at #2 Kansas 85 (Dec. 10, 2017)--Kansas 40, #16 ASU 37
ASU 102, #15 Xavier 86 (Nov. 24, 2017/Las Vegas)-- Xavier 46, ASU 44
ASU 74, #23 USC 67 (Feb. 12, 2016)-- USC 30, ASU 27
ASU 67, #18 Texas A&M 54 (Dec. 5, 2015)