ASU men's basketball uses second half run to pull away from San Diego State

Evans, Holder and White all played key roles in helping the Sun Devils come out victorious

Despite their three-point struggles, ASU men’s basketball turned to defense to secure their second win of the season, 90-68 against San Diego State on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Arena. 

In what was a game-time decision, highly-touted redshirt freshman forward Romello White made his Sun Devil debut against the Aztecs Tuesday night. He missed all of last year due to academic ineligibility and was held out of ASU's season opener due to a team violation. 

White finished his debut with a double-double, posting a stat line of 16 points, 15 rebounds along with one block and one steal. 

“(It was) amazing,” White said about his debut. “I have been waiting for a year to play, so I mean it felt great.”

Nevertheless, his presence opened up more opportunities for ASU’s senior guards Tra Holder and Shannon Evans II, which included high field goal percentages. Evans II finished the game with 14 points on 4 for 9 shooting, but Holder was the highlight of the evening.

After he finished the first half with just nine points (two field goals), the veteran Holder said that he realized what adjustments he could make following the conclusion of the first half. He ended the night with 24 points on 7 for 14 shooting, five of those field goals coming from beyond the arc. 

“I saw some things in the first half, you know, that I could create and get into the paint a little bit more and kick out to guys,” Holder said. “The guy (defender) was dropping so far back, so I just tried to be more aggressive and make plays for each other.” 

San Diego State did not make it easy for ASU in the first half, leading at one time 40-34 as the home team was unable to find their rhythm offensively. 

San Diego state junior forward Max Montana torched the Sun Devils from three-point range in the first half, making 4 of 5 threes in the first half to held extend his team’s lead. Another contributor for the visiting Aztecs was senior guard Trey Kell, who ended the first half with 14 points. 

To ASU’s defensive credit, both players were held to five points combined in the second half. Another player ASU focused on defensively was San Diego State junior guard Devin Watson, who averaged 20.3 points per game last season and was held to four points.

Freshman guard Remy Martin was assigned to Watson, but ASU’s head coach Bobby Hurley also gave credit to his team’s defense. 

“We were switching a lot of their action, guard to guard, and Remy was on him, but I think everyone kind of had a turn or a chance,” Hurley said. “I have talked about how much of an impact he has guarding the ball and pressuring and creating plays out there.” 

It was evident that the Sun Devils made adjustments coming out of the half, outscoring San Diego State 56-28 in the second half. When they needed a momentum change, Evans and Holder sparked it. 

“I think Shannon and Tra early in that second half really got us going,” Hurley said. “Tra had a terrific game, you know, an all-around game again just filling the stat sheet in different areas.”

ASU went on a 22-2 run over six minutes and 49 seconds to break open a close game, which eventually led to their 90-68 blowout win. According to ASU men’s basketball media relations, the last time San Diego State gave up 90 points in a regulation game was Feb. 22, 2006 against Brigham Young University, losing 100-90. 

Up next

The Sun Devils will host Northern Arizona University on Friday, Nov. 17. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. MST at Wells Fargo Arena. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @felipecorraljr on Twitter.  

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