After a concerning performance against Tarleton State and an overtime loss to Texas Southern to open the season, ASU men's basketball entered the Legends Classic in Brooklyn 2-1, but had yet to reach its potential. A comeback win against Virginia Commonwealth University in Wednesday's opener and a blowout win over a ranked Michigan team the following day proved what many observers believed before the season — when this team plays together, they have the talent to beat just about anyone.
Sophomore guard Frankie Collins was once again the hero Wednesday, with a game-high 15 points to go along with six assists, four rebounds and three steals. With ASU down 43-37 and just under 14 minutes to play in the second half, Collins scored ASU's next nine points, providing the Sun Devils with energy to spark their eventual comeback.
VCU went up 54-46 with 7:29 left, and ASU finished the game on a 17-5 run to close the Rams out. The Sun Devil run was powered by standout performances from freshman guard Austin Nunez and freshman forward Duke Brennan, who combined for 15 points and solidified themselves as valuable members of the Sun Devil rotation.
ASU used the momentum it created in its win against VCU to dominate No. 20 Michigan 87-62 in the Legends Classic championship.
Collins, who played for Michigan last season before transferring to ASU this summer, opened the game with a block on Michigan graduate student guard Jaelin Llewellyn.
Junior guard DJ Horne started the offensive flurry, scoring a quick eight points in the first half. Horne scored 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, and graduate student guard Desmond Cambridge Jr. scored his high with 20 points, hitting four 3-pointers.
It took a total team effort flying across the court to slow down Michigan's star big man junior center Hunter Dickinson. The Sun Devils held Dickinson to 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting, along with three turnovers.
Collins' backcourt mate, Nunez, came out of his shell in the come-from-behind win against VCU. Nunez elevated that confidence in the game against Michigan, coming off the bench and hitting three 3-pointers, scoring his career high as a Sun Devil with 15 points.
The Sun Devils' formula against Michigan was simple: defend and shoot from the perimeter. The Wolverines shot a season-low of 33.9% from the field at 21-of-62, while the Devils shot 60.4%, hitting 11 3-pointers.
With injured reinforcements in forwards Bagley and sophomore forward guard Jamiya Neal on the horizon, the Sun Devils will only become more whole. The Sun Devils take on Grambling State on Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. MST at Desert Financial Arena.
ASU women's basketball looked to keep its perfect record against Montana State in the first away game of the season.
The Sun Devils took control in the first half with a 46-27 lead at halftime. The Bobcats outscored the Sun Devils 37-33 in the second half but could not overcome the deficit, giving the Sun Devils a 79-64 win.
The Sun Devils found success from the free throw line, completing 72.4% of chances. The Bobcats almost kept up, completing 70.6% of attempts.
The Sun Devils dominated in both field goals and 3-pointers, completing 47.3% and 33.3% of attempts, respectively. The Bobcats only completed 30.6% of field goal attempts and 12.5% of 3-point attempts.
ASU's 79-64 win over Montana State carried the team into its next game where it defeated the University of New Mexico in overtime 83-77 behind Skinner's 24 points.
After defeating Montana State, ASU looked to push its unbeaten streak to four games as they visited the Lobos.
Both teams came out in the first quarter looking to score quickly by playing aggressively and looking to attack early and often. The game continued to be a fight, but the Lobos were able to cut the lead in the third quarter in which they out-scored the Sun Devils by eight points.
The Lobos would not just go away without a fight. Behind a steady offense by senior forward Shaiquel McGruder and senior guard LaTascya Duff, the Sun Devils found themselves in an overtime battle in the Pit.
Simmons and Hunt were able to provide steady scoring and rebounding to help Skinner. Graduate student center Kayla Mokwuah helped carry the loads on both sides of the ball as she was able to finish with a double-double.
ASU looks to continue its undefeated season in the Bahamas on Nov. 25 for the Goombay Splash Tournament.
Edited by Kathryn Field, Piper Hansen and Grace Copperthite.
Addison Kalmbach is a reporter for The State Press Sports desk. He has previously worked for Detroit City FC and PHOENIX Magazine.