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Men's Hoops Pac-12 Tournament Notes: ASU Meets Stanford Wednesday at Noon PT

Mar 7, 2022

7-1 PAST 8/8-3 PAST 11: The Sun Devil men's basketball squad (14-16; 10-10; No. 8 seed) plays Stanford -- again -- in the first round of Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday, March 9, at noon p.m. PT on the Pac-12 Network with Roxy Bernstein, Don MacLean on the call and Jordan Kent on the sidelines. After starting Pac-12 play 2-7 and then 3-9 (and 7-15 overall), ASU is 8-3 in its past 11 starting with a triple-overtime win over No. 3 UCLA on Feb. 5 and has won seven of eight. The Sun Devils have held 18 opponents under 40 percent shooting and in the 20 Pac-12 games finished third in field goal percentage defense (692-of-1736/.399) -- behind only Arizona (.382) and USC (.389) -- and second in three-point defense (222-of-713/.311). ASU topped Stanford 65-56 on Saturday and has met the Cardinal five times in Pac-12 Tourmament play, with the Cardinal winning three. The last meeting was a 98-88 Sun Devil overtime win in 2017, and ASU's other win also an overtime game (89-88 on March 13, 2013). ASU was 2-12 in its opening game of the Pac-12 Tournament since it was reinstated in 2002, but Bobby Hurley's squad has won three of its past four Pac-12 Tournament openers.

QUICK NOTES ON ASU PAST EIGHT GAMES (7-1): ASU holding opponents to 57.1 points (scoring 68.1) and outrebounding its opponent by +2.6 per game in the past eight games...has held opponents to 160-of-437 (.366) from the floor and 51-of-200 (.255) from three...Sun Devils are 112-of-210 (.533) from the field, 28-of-70 (.400) from three and are outscoring opponents 288-224 in the second half in those eight games, while holding teams to .333 from the field (71-of-213) and .298 from the three-point arc (28-of-94)...Jalen Graham is 44-of-80 (.550) from the field in ASU's past eight games and leads the team at 13.1 points per game...Marreon Jackson is averaging 13.0 points per game in the past eight with 20 steals...Jay Heath is shooting .530 (35-of-66) from the field... ASU is 7-1 since Feb. 11 with wins at Washington State, vs. the Oregon schools in Tempe, at Colorado, at Utah and vs. California and Stanford in Tempe with a Monday (Feb. 21) loss at #12 UCLA in the middle...Alonzo Gaffney is 13-of-18 (.722) from the field.

BEATING SOME WARM OPPONENTS: ASU has some impressive wins lately and has been able to beat some teams playing very well. ASU was up in Boulder by 26 late in the second half against a team that also has won seven of its past eight (only loss to ASU). UCLA is 7-2 since its Feb. 5 loss to ASU. Check out some more quickies below...

Colorado entered Feb. 24 on 5-game win streak -- ASU won 82-65 at CU (who then beat Arizona)
Oregon entered Feb. 17 game 11-2 in previous 13 -- ASU won handily 81-57 (UO beat UCLA week later)
Washington State entered Feb. 12 game 5-1 in previous 6 -- ASU won 58-55 win in Pullman
No. 3 UCLA was 6-1 previous 7 on Feb. 5 -- ASU won 87-84 in triple overtime (UCLA 7-2 since)

REMINDER HOW WEIRD THE PAUSES WERE: Last week ASU beat Cal 71-44 (March 3), outscoring the Bears 40-19 in the second half. California beat ASU 74-50 in Berkeley on Jan. 2. That was ASU's only game in a 26-day span due to three COVID pauses (by two opponents and then ASU). Last Thursday's game was ASU's 11th in the 29 days.

QUICK NOTES ON DUDES: Jay Heath is 21-of-36 (.583) from the floor and 9-of-20 (.450) from three in the past four games and posted 18 points at Colorado and a season-high 20 at Utah...Luther Muhammad was averaging five points per game entering the Colorado game (Feb. 24), but was 9-of-15 from the floor and posted 15 points at Colorado and 10 points at Utah. After going 11-of-71 (.155) from three to start the year, he made 4-of-8 on the mountain trip.

8-3 IN PAST 11: ASU had its three-game win streak 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 8.3 more points per game in that span, as it is 8-3 in its past 11 after starting 6-13. Marreon Jackson leads the team in the past 11 games at 14.2 points per game (only two starts) while Alonzo Gaffney is 20-of-34 (.588) from the field and is 8-of-16 (.500) from three.

FIRST 19 (6-13) / PAST 11 (8-3)
62.2 / 70.5
FGS: 448-1162 (.386) / 301-650 (.463)
3PT: 120-436 (.275) / 79-233 (.339)
3PT DEFENSE: 150-451 (.333) / 72-262 (.275)
ASSISTS PG: 11.8 / 15.9

THIS WASN'T NORMAL: ASU competed a five-game stretch prior to the game at Washington 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.

WILD MARCH 4 NOTE: ASU (5-8) is tied with USC and Arizona (both 5-3) for most Quad 1 wins in Pac-12. ASU overall strength of schedule is 20th-best, and its non-conference slate is 14th-best. ASU is 5-8 against Quad 1 and 9-8 vs. the others. The Sun Devil Quad 1 wins are at Oregon (74), at Creighton (66), UCLA (11), at Washington State (58) and at Colorado (75).

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. 

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 13.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in the past 17. 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 in both games), Colorado (16 points) and at Utah (15) games are the top eight scoring games of his career. After starting season 7-of-23 from the foul line, he is 31-of-48 (.646) in past 17 games. 

RPG:  3.0/5.5
APG: 0.5/2.5
FG-A: 23-55 (.418)/99-190 (.521)
FT-A: 7-23 (.304)/31-48 (.646)

FT LINE: ASU's backcourt of Marreon Jackson (56-of-69), DJ Horne (35-of-39 and made his first 22 on the season), Jay Heath (40-of-54), Luther Muhammad (24-of-29) and Jamiya Neal (11-of-16) are a combined 166-of-197 (.807) at the free throw line. 

DEFENSE: ASU is holding opponents to .399 shooting, its best defensive effort since 1971-72, tied for second-best in school history. ASU has held 17 opponents under 40 percent.

.391 -- 1962-63 (791-2024)
.399 -- 2021-22 (673-1685)
.399 -- 1971-72 (797-of-1997)

THREE DOTS ON DUDES: Kimani Lawrence is averaging 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds and enters Pac-12 Tournament with 979 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 37 blocks and posted 10 points in the triple overtime win over UCLA and 11 points in March 3 Cal win...Marreon Jackson's 121 assists is team best and he has played in 157 games and is 402-of-489 (.822) at the free throw line with 2,126 career points (13.5 ppg.)...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).

1. 135 – Kimani Lawrence, '17-22

2. 132 – Jon Gilling, '11-15
3. 131 – Derek Glasser, '06-10

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)/Bobby Hurley
#18 ASU 80, #1 Kansas 76 (Dec. 22, 2018)/Bobby Hurley
#16 ASU 95, at #2 Kansas 85 (Dec. 10, 2017)/Bobby Hurley
ASU 69, #2 Arizona 66 (2 OT) (Feb. 14, 2014)/Herb Sendek
#5 ASU 87, #1 Oregon State 67 (Mar. 7, 1981)/Ned Wulk
ASU 95, #3 USC 78 (Dec. 1, 1971)/Ned Wulk
ASU 68, @#2 USC (Dec.12, 1970)/Ned Wulk
ASU 89, #3 Michigan 87 (Dec. 27, 1965 at Portland/Far West Classic)/Ned Wulk

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.

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 2-2 in games it has held opponents to under .310 shooting, as it beat California on March 3 in Tempe.

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 third time in ASU 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...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 in 2019 with back-to-back appearances for the first time since 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.

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. 

SAY IT MAR (LIKE CAR) - REON: Toledo graduate 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 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.

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 .844 career free throw shooter (92-of-109). 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 988 career points in 84 games (11.8 ppg.).

JAY: 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 11.3 points with season-high 20 at Utah on Feb. 26. He is 40-of-54 (.741) from the free throw line after entering the year 71-of-114 (.623) and is averaging 12.5 ppg. in 77-game career.

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: 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 JC transfer Alonzo Gaffney, who started his career at Ohio State. Add freshmen Jamiya Neal and Enoch Boakye and ASU started with a 10-man rotation.

GOOD NOTE: ASU has defeated nine ranked teams in Bobby Hurley's seven seasons, but it trailed at the half in five of the wins, including both wins over Kansas.

ASU 87, #3 UCLA 84 3 OT (Feb. 5, 2022)
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) 

KIMANI: Kimani Lawrence had 21 points and 20 rebounds on Feb. 25, 2021, vs. Washington 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 had a 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. California (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
Curtis Borchardt, Stanford vs. Arizona (Feb. 2, 2002) – 25/21
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

GOOD EARLY: Coach Hurley's Sun Devils have been good in November. 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.

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 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)

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.

ASU 65, STAN 56/Mar. 3, 2002
@STAN 79, ASU 76/Jan. 22, 2022
ASU 79, STAN 75/Jan. 30, 2021
ASU 74, @STAN 69/Feb. 13, 2020
ASU 80, STAN 62/Feb. 20, 2019
@STAN 85, ASU 71/Jan. 12, 2019
STAN 84, ASU 83/Mar. 3, 2018
@STAN 86, ASU 77/Jan. 17, 2018
ASU 98, STAN 88/Mar. 8, 2017/Pac-12 at Las Vegas
ASU 75, STAN 69/Feb. 11, 2017
ASU 98, @STAN 93/Dec. 30, 2016
ASU 74, STAN 64/Mar. 3, 2016
@STAN 75, ASU 73/Jan. 23, 2016

EARLY: 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.

PAC-12 STATS: Here are some quick notes on how ASU finished in conference only game stats (so the 20-game league schedule…ASU finished third in field goal percentage defense (692-of-1736/.399), behind only Arizona (.382) and USC (.389)…ASU finished second in three-point defense (222-of-713/.311), behind only California (.310)…ASU was fourth in steals at 6.73 per game, turnover margin (+1.60) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.11)…ASU averaged 7,973 fans in the 10 conference games, second in the league..Kimani Lawrence was fifth in the league in field goal percentage (.536), as was Marreon Jackson in assists per game (4.03)…Jackson was third in steals per game (1.73/52)…Jay Heath's .412 three-point shooting was fifth (42-of-102/.412)…DJ Horne was third in three-pointers made per game (2.34).