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Next Up for Men's Hoops: at Utah Saturday at 8 p.m. on ESPNU

Feb 25, 2022

SPARKY ON ROAD: The Sun Devil men's basketball squad (11-16; 7-10) heads to Salt Lake City for an 8 p.m. tip vs. Utah on Saturday, Feb. 26 on ESPNU after posting an impressive 82-65 win at Colorado Thursday. ASU is 5-3 starting with a triple-overtime win over No. 3 UCLA on Feb. 5 and has held 16 opponents to under 40 percent shooting and in the past five games has held opponents to 100-of-221 (.367) from the floor.

1. 132 – Kimani Lawrence, '17-22
1. 132 – Jon Gilling, '11-15
3. 131 – Derek Glasser, '06-10

ASU 82, AT COLORADO 65 (FEB. 24, 2022): ASU took a 17-16 lead halfway through the first half and never looked back as it led by as many as 26 in a dismantling of a good Colorado team Thursday that had won five straight. ASU shot .552 (16-of-29) in the second half, made 9-of-17 (.529) from three and 13-of-15 (.867) from the free throw line for the game and outrebounded CU 38-26 to cruise to the win. Jay Heath had 18 points, while Marreon Jackson (17 points/five steals) and Luther Muhammad (season-high 15 points) came off the bench and led ASU to a 35-15 advantage in bench points. Jalen Graham had 14 points on 7-of-13 shooting and added five boards and three assists. CU's biggest lead was 5-0 and there were five ties 10 minutes into the game, but ASU raced out to a leads of 25-16 (7:26) and 37-24 (1:19) and didn't let up in the second half, going up 72-46 on a Heath three-pointer with just under seven minutes remaining.
BEATING SOME WARM OPPONENTS: ASU has some impressive wins lately and has been able to beat some teams playing very well. Check out the quick list below:

Colorado entered Feb. 24 on five-game win streak -- ASU won 82-65 at CU
Oregon entered Feb. 17 game 11-2 in previous 13 -- ASU won handily 81-57
Washington State entered Feb. 12 game 5-1 in previous 6 -- ASU 58-55 in Pullman
No. 3 UCLA was 6-1 previous seven on Feb. 5 -- ASU won 87-84 in triple overtime

CRAZY SCHEDULING NOTE: The last time ASU played Utah (Jan. 17), it had played two games in the previous 28 days. When ASU takes floor vs. Utah Saturday, it will have played 10 games in the previous 28 days. 
5-3 IN PAST EIGHT: ASU had its three-game win steak snapped at UCLA Monday (Feb. 21), but has played pretty well starting with its 87-84 triple overtime win over No. 3 UCLA on Feb. 5. The Sun Devils are scoring nearly 10 more points per game in that span, as it is 5-3 in its past eight after starting 6-13. Marreon Jackson is averaging 15.4 ppg. in those eight games after averaging 8.1 in the first 19.
FIRST 19 (6-13) / PAST EIGHT (5-3)
PPG: 62.2 / 72.0
FGS: 448-1162 (.386) / 220-490 (.449)
3PT: 120-436 (.275) / 66-181 (.365)
3PT DEFENSE: 150-451 (.333) / 51-187 (.273)
ASSISTS PG: 11.8 / 15.9
4-1 IN PAST FIVE NOTES: Marreon Jackson is 14-of-29 (.483) from three and 24-of-48 (.500) from the field in the past five games and is averaging a team-best 14.2 ppg. In the past five games ASU is holding opponents to just 100-of-275 (.363) from the field, 30-of-125 (.240) from three and 59.2 points and is shooting .480 (135-of-281) and outrebounding its opponent by +3.6 per game. The second-half offensive efficiency has been great, as ASU is 70-of-139 (.504) from the field, 20-of-47 (.426) from three and is outscoring opponents 183-148. ASU is 4-1 in that time with wins at Washington State, vs. the Oregon schools in Tempe, at Colorado and the Monday loss at #12 UCLA.
LAST WEEKEND: ASU played its best game of the year (at the time) in an 81-57 route of Oregon -- who had won 11 of previous 13 -- on Feb. 17 as it shot a season-high 31-of-54 (.574) from the field, 9-of-20 (.450) from three and scored 45 second-half points for a regular season sweep of the Ducks for the first time since 2011. ASU has now won three of the past four in Tempe against UO and is 3-2 in the past five. On Saturday, ASU took care of busines against Oregon State in a 73-53 win as five Sun Devils notched double digits in a game that was never tied after 2-2. ASU fell at No. 12 UCLA Monday 66-52, as UCLA led 32-15 and 34-21 at the half, but the Sun Devils cut it to 46-45 with 8:02 before UCLA outscored ASU 20-7 in final 7:30.
WILD NOTE AS OF FEB. 23: ASU is tied with Stanford for second-most Quad 1 wins in the Pac-12 (4-9), as Arizona is 5-2 and Stanford is 4-7. ASU overall strength of schedule is ninth-best, and its non-conference slate is currently 18th-best. ASU is 4-9 against Quad 1 and 6-7 vs. the others. The Sun Devil Quad 1 wins are at Oregon (66), at Creighton (64), UCLA (13) and at Washington State (47).
THIS WASN'T NORMAL: ASU competed a five-game stretch prior to the Washington game where it played at #16 USC, at #3 Arizona and then at home vs. #19 USC, vs. #3 UCLA and vs. #4 Arizona in 15 days. It marked the first time any Pac-12 crew had played five straight ranked teams since the 2001-02 Sun Devil squad played six straight.

JALEN: One good thing that came out of the Colorado Jan. 15 loss was the play of Jalen Graham, who had a then career-high 16 points in just over 19 minutes, including 6-of-7 from the free throw line. He then had 12 points in just 14:23 (foul trouble) in the Jan. 17 win over Utah including the game-winner with four seconds left. On Jan. 22 at Stanford he was 8-of-13 from the floor and again had 16 points and tied the game at 76 with under seven seconds left. After averaging 4.8 points in his first 11 games this year (and 5.2 points in first 60 games of career) he is averaging 13.6 points and 5.9 rebounds in the past 14. The USC (19 points at home and 15 points on road), Oregon (18 points), UCLA (16 points and career-best six assists), Stanford (16 points) and Colorado (16 points) are the top six scoring games of his career. After starting season 7-of-23 from the foul line, he is 22-of-32 (.688) in past 13 games. 

PPG: 4.8/13.6
RPG:  3.0/6.0
APG: 0.5/2.6
FG-A: 23-55 (.418)/84-163 (.515)
FT-A: 7-23 (.304)/22-32 (.688)
AT #12 UCLA 66, ASU 52 (FEB. 21, 2022): UCLA led from start to finish but not without the Sun Devils making them sweat as ASU fought back from a 17-point deficit in the first half to cut the score to 46-45, but the Bruins outscored ASU 20-7 to get the season split from ASU. ASU made more field goals than the Bruins, but UCLA was 18-of-20 at the free throw line while ASU was made three of four. Three Sun Devils had nine points, who got 20 points from its bench as Marreon Jaclson had nine points and four steals.

ASU 73, OREGON STATE 53 (FEB. 19, 2022): ASU never let it get tied beyond 2-2 in a 73-53 win, led 42-29 at hafltime and stretched it to 26 with five players in double digits. Marreon Jackson led with 15 points off the bench and DJ Horne led a 17-assist night with six as ASU added 10 steals and outscored OSU 22-8 in bench points and 20-8 in points off turnovers for its 13th straight over the Beavers in Tempe.
ASU 81, OREGON 57 (FEB. 17, 2022): ASU led for nearly 37 minutes, shot 17-of-28 (.607) in the second half and led by as many as 27 in an 81-57 route of Oregon, its first regular season sweep of the Ducks since 2010-11. Jalen Graham had 18 points, nine boards and five assists while Kimani Lawrence, DJ Horne and Marreo Jackson all had 16, with Jackson's all coming off the bench in the first half. ASU outrebounded Oregon 40-29 and had 19 assists (including a career-best six from Jay Heath) and eight steals and outscored Oregon 18-4 in fast break points.
DEFENSE: ASU is holding opponents to .402 shooting, its best defensive effort since 2009-10 (.402/678-of-1687), tied for fourth best in school history. ASU has held 16 opponents under 40 percent shooting including the past four.

.391 -- 1962-63 (791-2024)
.399 -- 1971-72 (797-of-1997)
.401 -- 1967-68 (834-2078)
.402 -- 2021-22 (632-1574)
.402 -- 2009-10 (678-1687)
.410 -- 2012-13 (861-2098)
.410 -- 2007-08 (718-1752) 
CRAZY NOTE FROM USC FEB. 3: ASU lost a tough one to #19 USC on Feb. 3 58-53 despite holding USC to 30 percent shooting (18-of-60), the first time since 1996-97 it held an opponent to 30 percent or less shooting and lost (27 times). ASU fell behind 14-2 but led 40-32 with under 12 minutes but USC outscored ASU 26-13 to close the game.
THREE DOTS ON DUDES: Kimani Lawrence is averaging 10.3 points and 6.5 rebounds and enters Utah game with 951 career points...Jay Heath and Jalen Graham each missed the first two games -- and many practices -- because of COVID protocols...Alonzo Gaffney leads team with 36 blocks and posted 10 points in the triple overtime win over UCLA...Marreon Jackson's 105 assists is team best and he has played in 154 games and is 400-of-485 (.825) at the free throw line with 2,093 career points (13.6 ppg.). He is averaging 15.3 points in the past eight games...Luther Muhammad started 54 games in his first two years at Ohio State before sitting last year at ASU with a shoulder injury. After scoring seven points in the previous five games, he matched a season-high with 12 at Wazzu and is a .804 career free throw shooter (131-of-163).
FT LINE: ASU's backcourt of Marreon Jackson (54-of-64), DJ Horne (29-of-31 and made his first 22 on the season), Jay Heath (37-of-46) Luther Muhammad (24-of-29) and Jamiya Neal (11-of-16) are a combined 155-of-187 (.829) at the free throw line. 
WILD STAT: ASU held Washington State to 18-of-59 (.305) shooting in both games this year. It won the road tilt (58-55) and lost the one in Tempe by 22 (51-29). It also held USC to 18-of-60 (.300), which means ASU is 1-2 in games it has held opponents to under .310 shooting. 
 ABOUT FEB. 5, 2022: ASU topped No. 3 UCLA 87-84 in triple overtime on Feb. 5 and now has eight wins over AP top three teams in their history, four of them in the past 41 years (1981-92 to present). Two of them were by a Bobby Hurley-coached squad over Kansas and then the UCLA win. Random note: Bill Walton was the color commentator for all four of them in past 41 years.

ASU 87, #3 UCLA 84 3 OT (Feb. 5, 2022)
#18 ASU 80, #1 Kansas 76 (Dec. 22, 2018)
#16 ASU 95, at #2 Kansas 85 (Dec. 10, 2017)
ASU 69, #2 Arizona 66 (2 OT) (Feb. 14, 2014)
#5 ASU 87, #1 Oregon State 67 (Mar. 7, 1981)
ASU 95, #3 USC 78 (Dec. 1, 1971)
ASU 68, @#2 USC (Dec.12, 1970)
ASU 89, #3 Michigan 87 (Dec. 27, 1965 at Portland/Far West Classic)
CLOSE: Coach Hurley's Sun Devils have done a good job of winning close games through the years. It got some fast on Dec. 5 at Oregon (69-67), followed it up with a 67-62 win over 2021 WAC Champion Grand Canyon on Dec. 9, added a 58-57 win at Creighton on Dec. 14 and then a 64-62 win over Utah on Jan. 17. 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 17-8 in Pac-12 two-possession games the past three years and 23-12 overall. Its 23 wins in that time is the most in the league.
LONG PAUSE: Here is how one-game in 26 days happened prior to ASU losing to Colorado (Jan. 15)...ASU fell to San Francisco 66-65 on Dec. 19 on three USF free throws in the final seconds...ASU then played once prior to Jan. 15 Colorado game...on Dec. 21, ASU had its Florida A&M home game canceled due to campus power outage that affected several broke for holiday break only to learn its Dec. 30 at USC and Jan. 1 at UCLA games were postponed due to protocols with the Trojans and Bruins...ASU scrambled and moved its Jan. 19  tilt at California to Jan. 2...upon returning, ASU had to enter a pause due to COVID protocols, which meant it couldn't play a Jan. 5 game at UCLA (rescheduled from Jan. 1), its Jan. 8 Arizona game (since played Feb. 7) and its Jan. 13 Utah game (since played Jan. 17). How weird is one game from Dec. 20-Jan. 14? Using 2016-17 as an example, ASU played seven games in that time frame.
COACH HURLEY AT ASU: Posted third straight 20-win season in 2019-20 for just the third time in program 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 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 November of 2017, defeated two eventual 2018 NCAA Tournament No. 1 seeds in a span of a two weeks (Kansas and Xavier)...matched highest AP ranking in school  history (third) in December of 2017...9-3 in out of conference regular season road games, second-best in nation.
 WEIRD: ASU had 12 more made field goals at Stanford on Jan. 22, but lost. How freakin' weird is that? It is the first time since April 1, 2016, when Morehead State had 14 more made field goals in an 85-82 loss at Nevada. The last time it happened in regulation game was East Tennessee State with 12 more than Tennessee Tech on Dec. 2, 2015. ASU held USC to 18-of-60 (.300) on Feb. 3 and lost, the first time that has happened in 27 ASU games dating to 1996-97.
JAY HEATH: After missing the first two games due to COVID, Jay Heath averaged six points and was 5-of-20 from the field in his first three games. Since that time he is averaging 11.4 points with season-high 16 points vs. Loyola, USF and No. 4 Arizona. He is 37-of-46 (.844) from the free throw line after entering the year 71-of-114 (.623) and is averaging 12.5 ppg. in 74-game career.
SCHEDULE: By playing Baylor, Syracuse and Loyola in the Battle 4 Atlantis, ASU had a nine-game stretch where it faced seven 2021 NCAA Tournament teams (Washington State and San Francisco the others). In that stretch ASU played at last year's MWC champion (San Diego State), defending NCAA champ (Baylor), Syracuse (Sweet 16), Loyola (Sweet 16), at Pac-12 champion (Oregon), WAC champion (GCU) and at Creighton (Sweet 16) in 32 days.
DJ: DJ Horne hit a career-high six threes on Nov. 24 vs. Baylor. He averaged 15.1 ppg. last year at Illinois State and is a .851 career free throw shooter (86-of-101). He sent the Dec. 5 Oregon game into overtime with a three with under four seconds left, as he had season-high 23 points, six rebounds and three assists. He has 963 career points in 82 games (11.7 ppg.).
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).
RESET: The Sun Devils had new faces and a few returners like all of college hoops. Bobby Hurley in his seventh year returned "super" fifth-year senior Kimani Lawrence, junior Jalen Graham and sophomore Marcus Bagley. Luther Muhammad sat last year (shoulder injury) after transferring from Ohio State. ASU added graduate transfer Marreon Jackson from Toledo (2020-21 MAC Player of Year in his fifth year), along with DI transfers DJ Horne (Illinois State) and Jay Heath (Boston College) and junior college transfer Alonzo Gaffney, who started his career at Ohio State. Freshmen Jamiya Neal and Enoch Boakye and ASU started the season with a 10-man rotation. 
20: One can't take for granted what ASU did from 2017-20. Coming off records in of 23-11 (2018-19) and 20-12 in 2017-18, ASU notched its third straight 20-win season in the COVID cut 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. 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.
MARREON (SAY IT MAR (LIKE CAR) - REON): Toledo graduate transfer Marreon Jackson entered 2021-22 with 1,817 points (14.3 ppg.) and 573 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 2020-21. He posted five 30-point games at Toledo and in the final 10 games of 2020-21 averaged 19.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists. He shot .904 (103-of-114) from the free throw line in 2020-21, eighth-best in the nation.
FINAL FOUR: Coach Hurley is one of three current head coaches who earned Final Four MOP, one of 10 who won the NCAA title as a player, and is the only one to win it twice.

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
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.

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 Ja cobsen, 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)
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, 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 a seven-game Pac-12 win streak, a first since the 1980-81 team won 11 straight.
DOWN GOES RANKED TEAM: ASU has defeated nine 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.

#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
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. 
#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)
#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)
ROAD: ASU has changed its attitude about non-conference road games in Bobby Hurley's seven years with some big wins. ASU is 9-3 in non-conference road games under Coach Hurley, as it was 8-22 in its previous 30 OOC road tilts.
Arizona State 58, Creighton 57  (Dec. 14, 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)