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ASU men's basketball grinds out win over Stanford

The Sun Devils picked up their second consecutive victory at home Saturday night

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ASU senior guard Holland Woods (0) dribbles the ball against Stanford at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. ASU won 79-75.

The ASU men's basketball team defeated Stanford 79-75 on Saturday night, improving to 6-8 on the season and 3-5 in Pac-12 play.

Although the Sun Devils ended the game on a 10-2 run, the contest was close the entire way as neither team led by double digits over the course of the entire game.

In the first half, a tenacious defense worked in the Sun Devils' favor as they forced the Stanford team into committing 13 turnovers. The Stanford offense could not get going from deep as it did not convert on a single shot from three in the first half.

Senior guard Alonzo Verge Jr. said he believes this aggressive defensive is something he expects to see out of his team going forward.

"(The ball pressure) was part of our identity last year. We pressured a lot of teams, made them turn the ball over and I feel like that's something coach wanted to go back to," Verge Jr. said. "It's just about locking in on defense, jumping to the ball and doing the little things."

The Sun Devil team had no trouble converting defense into offense as they scored 23 points off of turnovers in the first half. For comparison, the Cardinal only scored eight points off of eight ASU turnovers in the first half.

Senior guard Remy Martin stepped up big offensively for the Sun Devils in the first half, as he poured in 15 points. 

Martin's offensive dominance continued into the second half, as he finished the game with 23 points and six assists. Including Martin's offensive display, the Sun Devils played impressive team basketball as four ASU players other than Martin scored in double digits.

"We've been through our ups and downs, and we're all just trying to find each other and make the right plays," Martin said. "Those guys help me so much. I'm just happy to have teammates that through ups and downs continue to thrive and battle it out."

As for the Cardinal, they had four players score in double digits. Junior forward Jaiden Delaire led the way with 21 points, while senior forward Oscar da Silva pitched in 18 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

Despite shooting 17 fewer free throws than the Cardinal, the Sun Devils were still able to pull out the victory. Head coach Bobby Hurley refused to comment on the free throw margin, but praised his team's accuracy from the line as it finished the contest making 15 of 17 free throws.

"Kimani Lawrence really made the clutch free throws," Hurley said. "Our free throws were tremendous. I'm really pretty pleased."

After the game, Verge Jr. said the team benefited from tough practices and, in order to get ready for the rest of conference play, the team must "push each other."

"If we practice hard I think we'll be fine. Because before we weren't doing that," Verge Jr. said. "We had two good practices before this game and I feel like that's where it starts."

The Sun Devils are set to face Colorado on Feb. 4 at 9 p.m. MST.

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