ASU men's basketball holds off NC State behind Tra Holder's career night

The Sun Devils will face Marquette Tuesday in the Legends Classic

Last year, it was ASU men's basketball's home win against Arizona. This season, it was on the national stage of the Legends Classic against NC State.

ASU sophomore point guard Tra Holder came up big yet again in a big game for the Sun Devils (3-1) Monday, scoring a career-high 22 points in a 79-76 victory over NC State (2-2) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Holder led the way for the Sun Devils early before coming on late to hit a game-clinching three-pointer with less than a minute remaining to give ASU a five-point lead. He would shoot 8-for-15 from the floor and 2-for-4 on three-pointers, adding in four assists.

Adding to the ASU one-two punch was junior forward Savon Goodman, who was making his first start of the season in the place of junior guard Andre Spight. Goodman, who injured his ankle towards the end of ASU's win over Kennesaw State, finished with 21 points (8-for-15 shooting) and 16 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.

Spight was removed from the starting lineup due to illness. He did not attempt a shot until there was less than a minute remaining in the first half, banking in a 3-pointer to give the Sun Devils a 40-38 advantage. He finished with six points.

The Sun Devils led for much of the second half after getting off to a hot start, only to watch the Wolfpack fight their way back into the game behind a 7-0 run. They retook the lead with five minutes remaining and held the lead until the final two minutes.

Leading the way for NC State was dynamic junior point guard Anthony "Cat" Barber, who finished with 22 points, six rebounds and eight assists after attacking the rim almost at will all night long. Barber's game-tying three-point attempt fell short at the buzzer.

He shot just 5-for-13 from the floor but made 12 of 14 free-throw attempts as he helped get the Sun Devils in foul trouble.

ASU senior center Eric Jacobsen struggled with foul trouble, picking up two early fouls in the opening minutes and finishing with 11 points and six rebounds in just 19 minutes. Despite the loss of the interior presence, Goodman and senior Willie Atwood combined for 21 rebounds as ASU out-rebounded NC State 47-35, including 18 offensive rebounds. 

Monday's win marked the first win away from Wells Fargo Arena for new ASU coach Bobby Hurley, setting the Sun Devils up for a matchup against fellow former Duke guard Steve Wojciechowski and the Marquette Golden Eagles. Marquette (2-2) knocked off LSU (3-1) and Ben Simmons 81-80 in the opening game of Monday's action at the Barclays Center.


Reach the reporter at fardaya@asu.edu or follow @fardaya15 on Twitter.

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