ASU men's basketball picked up its third consecutive victory in dramatic fashion with a 77-74 overtime win over Washington State in Tempe on Senior Night.
ASU's energy carried it from the get-go as the Sun Devils raced out to a quick 7-0 run to start the game.
But the Sun Devil offense started sputtering once Washington State switched to zone. ASU made just three 3-pointers of 14, and received just two points from its bench in the first half. Meanwhile, the Cougars shot 56% from deep and their bench chipped in 13 points in the first period.
ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said he noticed recently when Verge Jr. passes well, his team wins. In each of ASU's last three wins, Verge Jr. has recorded seven or more assists.
"He's got a great feel for the game. He knows where people are on the court and he's got good vision. Things that I noticed when I recruited him," Hurley said.
Defensively, ASU forced seven turnovers and converted 10 points off of turnovers in the first half. Even so, the Sun Devils found themselves tied at 34 heading into halftime.
In the second half, Graham led the charge defensively for ASU with numerous shot-altering challenges at the rim. Graham finished the game with 11 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
Senior forward Kimani Lawrence continued his strong play with 14 points and five rebounds, and senior guard Remy Martin finished with a game-high 23 points despite shooting just seven of 23 from the floor.
"(The seniors have) all been a big part of turning Arizona State basketball around," Hurley said. "It would've been three straight NCAA appearances for Kimani and Remy, three straight 20 win seasons. In a year when we were struggling, they were the guys that have helped us win three in a row here. I’m really happy for those two."
With under a minute left in the second half, the contest was still anyone's game. Martin stepped up and knocked down two consecutive free throws to put ASU up two. Then, with 30 seconds left, sophomore forward DJ Rodman matched Martin's free throws with his own and tied the game.
A huge block from Washington State freshman center Dishon Jackson extended the game for the Cougars and neither team broke the tie before the end of regulation.
In overtime, Martin stepped up big for the Sun Devils as he and Lawrence combined for all 10 of ASU's overtime points.
With the game on the line in overtime, Martin stepped up with the utmost confidence, draining a deep 3-pointer to give the Sun Devils the win.
"Even though I had a tough night, I still put in a lot of work on the offseason shooting the three, and at the end of the day, it’s just basketball. There was no pressure there," Martin said. "All the hard work paid off, I guess."
"For Senior Day for us it was a fitting end, and what Remy did, it's what he's been doing here for years," Hurley said. "He's had so many big shots at Arizona State and another big one on Senior Day as his family traveled in."
The Sun Devils will play Washington State once again on Monday at 1 p.m. MST.
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