ASU men's basketball team defeated Oregon State 75-73 Sunday night despite the team only having seven scholarship players eligible for the game.
Freshman forward Marcus Bagley and freshman guard Josh Christopher missed Sunday's game due to injuries, freshman forward Pavlo Dziuba was absent in lieu of COVID-19 protocols and both sophomore guard Caleb Christopher and junior forward Taeshon Cherry missed for personal reasons.
Although ASU was shorthanded yet again, it did not show early on. To start the game, the Sun Devils raced to a 19-4 lead behind an aggressive defense which recorded seven first-half steals and forced 11 first-half turnovers.
"I thought our pressure affected them," ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said. "We were able to get a couple steals and they turned into layups. It really fueled what we did."
The Sun Devils converted defense into offense, scoring 21 points off of turnovers in the first half. For comparison, the Beavers recorded zero first-half points off of turnovers.
ASU senior guards Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge Jr. carried the offensive workload in the first half, as they finished the half with double-digit points, combining for 26 of the team's 41 first-half points.
Despite seemingly everything working in ASU's favor, Oregon State found itself down just 10 points at the half.
In the second half, foul trouble hindered the Sun Devils' ability to be aggressive and take chances on defense. Five ASU players finished the game with three or more fouls.
"Not having (Jalen Graham in certain situations) and having to juggle some unique lineups wasn't the easiest thing," Hurley said. "We had enough veteran players on the court and we built that nice lead. Even though they made a run at us we were able to make the necessary plays to win."
After allowing the Beavers to claw their way back, tying the score with just over a minute left, Martin put the game out of reach with a clutch 3-pointer and two consecutive made free throws.
Although he hadn't made a three all game, Martin said "confidence" was what convinced him to take this one.
"I haven't been shooting as well as I want to from the three this year," Martin said. "I know I put tons of work in so I really feel like every shot that I take is gonna go in."
Martin finished with a game-high 23 points, while sophomore forward Jalen Graham, senior guard Holland Woods and Verge Jr. all pitched in double-digit point totals. On the other hand, senior guard Ethan Thompson led Oregon State with 18 points and sophomore guard Jarod Lucas scored 15 points.
ASU's next game, against USC, is scheduled for Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. MST.
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