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Shorthanded ASU men's basketball falls to Oregon despite big night from Martin

The senior guard scored 30 of ASU's 64 points in the defeat


ASU senior guard, Remy Martin (1), looks for a pass on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021 at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe. ASU lost  75-64.

ASU men's basketball fell to 6-9 on the season and 3-6 in conference play, losing 75-64 to Oregon on Thursday night in Tempe.

The Sun Devils were shorthanded yet again, beginning the game with both freshman Marcus Bagley and junior Chris Osten unavailable due to ankle injuries. Freshman Josh Christopher also left the game with a leg injury that he had been dealing with previously after playing just 17 minutes, in which he was held scoreless.

"(Christopher) was not moving great to start the second half, so we thought it was the best thing to shut him down," ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said. 

With a shortage of available talent elsewhere, senior guard Remy Martin exploded for 30 points on 9-22 shooting. Martin found success as a scorer on all three levels, knocking down four threes and eight free throws. 

"It's a gutsy performance (from Martin); just flying all over the court, doing whatever he can," Hurley said. "No quit. No give up."

Yet the rest of the Sun Devils struggled mightily on offense, scoring just 34 points combined on 13-44 shooting, and the offense frequently stagnated in the absence of Bagley, one of the team's best off-ball movers and shooters.

Senior Alonzo Verge Jr., ASU's third-leading scorer on the season, scored just six points on 2-12 shooting and was not in ASU's closing lineup despite the shortage of established offensive players, as Hurley instead opted to play senior guard Holland Woods and sophomore guard Jaelen House alongside Martin. 

"(Verge) wasn't in a great rhythm on offense, and I liked the energy that House and Holland were providing," Hurley said of the decision. 

House and Woods both also outscored Verge with eight and seven points, respectively, while sophomore Jalen Graham added eight points and nine rebounds. 

On the defensive end, ASU compensated for its shorthanded status by repeatedly taking gambles, doubling Oregon's bigs out the post, and working to force as many turnovers as possible. 

"Being down multiple frontcourt players, we had to scramble some and try to be disruptive and not let them get it inside where they're close to the basket, because then we were gonna be in a lot of trouble," Hurley said.

Yet Oregon countered the attack well by moving the ball unselfishly and shooting with great efficiency from the perimeter, posting a season-high 22 assists and going 12-30 from deep as they turned the ball over just 12 times.  

Leading the charge for the Ducks were four players who combined for 67 points, as seniors Eugene Omoruyi and Chris Duarte both had 18, while senior LJ Figueroa had 16 and junior Will Richardson had 15.

Despite the strong shooting night from Oregon, ASU did win the battle on the glass for just the second time all season, led by Graham and senior Kimani Lawrence, who started the game and finished with a career-high 12 rebounds. 

"We played tough today," Graham said. "We fought down there. We just weren't hitting shots."

Regardless of the effort, the Sun Devils, ranked No. 18 in the nation in the preseason, now sit 10th in the Pac-12 standings. They will next face Oregon State Sunday at 5 p.m. MST. 

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