Men's Basketball Faces Michigan in Legends Classic Championship
BROOKLYN - Sun Devil Men's Basketball will play No. 20 Michigan for the Legends Classic Championship on Thursday evening at 7 PM MST at the Barclays Center.
Following a 63-59 semifinal victory over VCU, Arizona State (3-1) will play in its fourth preseason tournament championship in the Bobby Hurley era. The Sun Devils will meet AP Top-25 foe Michigan, who is off to a 3-0 start, in a title game showdown. The game is scheduled to start at 7 PM MST, but will take place 30 minutes after the conclusion of the 5 PM MST Consolation Game between VCU and Pittsburgh.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Watch the Legends Classic Championship on ESPN2 or use the following link. All 31 of Arizona State's games this season will be televised, with the Maroon & Gold making appearances on ESPN, FOX, CBS, and Pac-12 Network in addition to several major network affiliates. The action can also be tracked via live stats available here.
LEGENDS CLASSIC CHAMPIONSHIP
ASU will compete in the Legends Classic Championship at Barclays Center in Brooklyn against No. 20 Michigan. Coach Hurley's Sun Devils have had some solid success in November and at preseason tournaments. The program captured Las Vegas titles at the 2017 Continental Tire Invitational and at the 2018 MGM Resorts Main Event. ASU defeated Nov. 15 Xavier -- who would go on to earn a NCAA No. 1 seed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament -- on Nov. 24, 2017 in the championship game of the Continental Tire Invitational, a day after beating eventual Elite Eight participant Kansas State. ASU's 2018 title at MGM Resorts Main Event included wins over two eventual NCAA Tournament teams in No. 15 Mississippi State and Utah State.
HOW WE GOT HERE
Sun Devil Men's Basketball utilized a second half surge ignited by Frankie Collins and finished by Duke Brennan to secure a 63-59 comeback victory over VCU in the semifinals of the 2022 Legends Classic. Collins led all scorers with 15 points, including nine straight in the second half. He was joined in double-figures by DJ Horne (12), Desmond Cambridge Jr. (10) and Austin Nunez (10). Arizona State trailed by 11 with 8:58 to play, but held VCU without a field goal over the remainder of the game, finishing on a 22-7 scoring stretch. The comeback victory was ASU's ninth neutral site triumph since Bobby Hurley took over. It was also the 34th time in the Hurley era that ASU has won after trailing at halftime.
MATCHUP WITH MICHIGAN
Michigan and Arizona State meet for the first time since 1994 and for the third time on a neutral court in the Legends Classic Championship. The Sun Devils own a 3-0 advantage all-time in the series, including a 79-62 victory at the 1994 Maui Inviational in the last meeting between the two sides. ASU defeated the Wolverines 92-91 in the 1967 Sun Devil Classic held at Sun Devil Gymnasium. In 1965, the Maroon & Gold knocked off No. 3 Michigan in the semifinals of the Far West Classic in Portland.
NEUTRALIZING THE OPPONENT
Arizona State has had some big wins at neutral sites under Coach Hurley, including last night's victory over VCU. He now has 10 neutral site victories in his tenure.
ASU 63, VCU 59 - Nov. 16, 2022 at Barclays Center, Brooklyn (Legends Classic)
#18 ASU 94, Rhode Island 88 - Nov. 25, 2020 at Mohegan Sun Arena, Conecticut (2K Empire Classic)
ASU 80, St. John's 67 - Nov. 23, 2019 at Mohegan Sun Arena, Connecticut (Air Force Reserve Tip-Off Tournament)
ASU 87, Utah State 82 - Nov. 21, 2018 at T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas (MGM Resorts Main Event)
ASU 72, #15 Mississippi State 67 - Nov. 20, 2018 at T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas (MGM Resorts Main Event)
ASU 82, St. John's 70 - Dec. 8, 2017 at STAPLES Center, Los Angeles
ASU 102, #15 Xavier 86 - Nov. 24, 2017 at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas (Continental Tire Invitational)
ASU 92, Kansas State 90 - Nov. 23, 2017 at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas (Continental Tire Invitational)
ASU 80, Tulane 71 - Nov. 18, 2016 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando (Tire Pros Invitational)
ASU 79, NC State 76 - Nov. 23, 2015 at Barclays Center, Brooklyn (BE Classic)
The four point margin of victory against VCU is ASU's third two-possession game in its first three contests (2-1 record). The Sun Devils are now 25-12 in two possession games over the last three seasons, the most wins in the Pac-12.
NO EASY SHOTS
A big reason for the Sun Devils 3-1 start is their defense, as they have made it extremely difficult on opponents to generate offense. Teams are shooting just 38.1% against Arizona State, including a miniscule 25.6% from beyond the arc. Through the first four games, opponent's have made only 7/39 (17%) from three-point land in the first half.
BALLIN' LIKE COLLINS
Through four games in a Sun Devil uniform, Frankie Collins has shown what makes him such a dangerous offensive threat. He is averaging 16.0 points, 4.8 assists, and 5.0 rebounds in 34.0 minutes of action. He also has a team-best nine steals through three games. In his debut, Collins finished with a team-high 21 points and made four three-pointers, all of which were needed in a 62-59 win over Tarleton. He played a facilitator role in the very next game, leading the team with eight assists while operating an efficient offense in a 84-68 victory over NAU. Collins attempted to will his team to a victory on the road against Texas Southern, scoring or assisting on the team's final 11 points, including all accounting for all seven points in overtime. He took over the game late once again against VCU, scoring nine consecutive points down the stretch to spearhead a 11-point comeback.
NO NONSENSE IN NON-CONFERENCE
Since Bobby Hurley arrived in Tempe, Arizona State has had a fearless mentality when it comes to scheduling in the non-conference. Because of this philosophy, the Sun Devils have captured some major victories early in the season and all over the country. ASU 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 VCU and NC State in Brooklyn.
FRESHMAN ON THE BIG STAGE
Freshman Austin Nunez and Duke Brennan came through with crucial contributions in crunch time. The duo was not phased by the significance of the game, teaming up to produce 15 points, three rebounds, and one block in 34 minutes of combined action. They were both part of the unit that shut down the Rams' offense in the second half, holding them to just four made made field goals over the final 20 minutes.
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