Evans, Holder help No. 3 Arizona State to easy win
TEMPE, Ariz. — Pacific coach Damon Stoudamire knows what good guards look like. Like Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley, he was one.
Stoudamire’s first live look at No. 3 Arizona State’s guard corps was eye-opening.
“I’m not going to lie, the guards are really good,” Stoudamire said after the Sun Devils remained one of four NCAA Division I unbeatens in a 104-65 thrashing of the Tigers at Wells Fargo Arena on Friday.
“They put a lot of pressure on you. Television doesn’t really do them justice, because what I see is a team that is tired of losing.”
Guard Shannon Evans II scored 21 points and Tra Holder added 19 for the Sun Devils (12-0), who took possession of the second-longest winning streak in school history. The 1980-81 team won 18 straight.
Forward Romello White had 16 points and eight rebounds, reserve guard Remy Martin added 14 points and six assists and reserve center De’Quon Lake collected 12 points, nine rebounds and seven blocked shots for Arizona State.
“To me, it’s not the fact that they make shots,” Stoudamire said. “It’s the fact that the put pressure on you downhill. They are downhill drivers. They put a lot of pressure on you, and then they have bigs that play those alleys.”
Arizona State recorded its biggest victory margin of the season and has won all but one of its game by at least 10 points. The Sun Devils open Pac-12 play against No. 18 Arizona in Tucson on Dec. 30.
Forward Jack Williams had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Tigers (5-8) before fouling out with 8:27 remaining and Miles Reynolds scored 13. Pacific opens West Coast Conference play at No. 12 Gonzaga on Thursday.
The Sun Devils, who have used big offensive bursts to pull away all season, led 39-16 after 14 1/2 minutes and Pacific never was closer than 13 again while losing its fourth straight.
Evans II scored 16 points in the first half when the Sun Devils used a 24-8 midway through the half to take control. The run began when Arizona State turned to a 2-2-1, three-quarter court zone press to force tempo.
“We have a burst to us, and guys feed off each other,” Hurley said. “There is a lot of offense on the floor most of the time. There are a lot of weapons out there. So if we can generate the stops we need and get to pushing the ball up the floor, then we are going to get a great looks.”
Pacific closed to 49-36 in the second half before Arizona State used a 21-11 run to put the game away. White had three baskets in that spurt, two on assists from Holder and another on a follow shot.
The Sun Devils scored 57 points in the second half, their sixth 50-point half of the season. Five have come in the second half, including 58 in victories over then-No. 2 Kansas and then-No. 15 Xavier. They scored 60 in the second half of a 95-61 victory over Longwood on Tuesday.
Evans had five 3-pointers and Kodi Justice added three as the Sun Devils went 12-for-26 from distance. Justice had 11 points. Evans and Holder entered the game averaging a combined 39 points, with Holder at 21.5.
Pacific shot 35.8 percent, the third straight Arizona State opponent to shoot under 40 percent. Vanderbilt shot 33.8 percent in a 76-64 loss and Longwood shot 36.8 percent in a 95-61 loss. The Tigers were 3-of-17 from distance.
NOTES: Transfer F Mickey Mitchell had six points and nine rebounds in his first start of the season in place of F Vitaliy Shibel, only the second lineup change of the season for the Sun Devils. Mitchell was playing his fourth game after gaining his eligibility Dec. 10. Transfer F Romello White did not start the first game because of a team suspension. ... Pacific second-year coach Damon Stoudamire, a University of Arizona guard from 1991-95, was 4-4 as a player against Arizona State. “I’ve been in this arena enough times to know what the energy was like in this gym,” Stoudamire said. “It’s different (this year).”