So far, so good for Arizona State which hasscored at least 90 points in winning its opening two games of the season. TheSun Devils continue their four-game homestand Friday night by hosting winlessin-state rival Northern Arizona.
Arizona State did struggle through the openinghalf of Tuesday’s game against San Diego State, trailing 40-34 at the break,but coach Bobby Hurley’s bunch blitzed the visiting Aztecs 56-28 over thesecond 20 minutes to win going away at 90-68. The Sun Devils hit 20 of 30 shotsin the second half while limiting the visitors to 9-of-30 shooting, including2-of-9 3-pointers after a 6-of-12 showing from long range in the opening half. ArizonaState displayed superior offensive balance in the contest with senior guardsTra Holder and Shannon Evans II combining for 38 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assistswhile forwards Romello White and De’Quon Lake, both newcomers, added 31 pointsand 22 boards. “I think we have a chance to be better with the balance we have,”Hurley said in his post-game news conference. “The guards, with what they cando away from the basket and getting to the rim, along with the presence ofRomello and De’Quon around the basket, it’s going to make it harder to defendus.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
ABOUT NORTHERN ARIZONA (0-2): Losing big (101-67)to No. 5 Arizona in the season opener was fully expected, but dropping its homeopener 82-70 to Embry-Riddle, an NAIA program, on Monday night after squanderingan early 25-9 lead is an ominous sign for the young and rebuilding Lumberjacks.Forward Chris Bowling had 16 points to pace Northern Arizona and is the onlyplayer averaging double figures at 13.5 per game. Forward Corey Brown (8.0) andguard Torry Johnson (7.0) are next in scoring while forward Brooks Debisschopis averaging a team-most 5.5 rebounds for the Lumberjacks, who have beenoutrebounded 84-59 so far.
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE (2-0): White, a 6-8 forward, madehis debut Tuesday after sitting out last season as an academic redshirt andthen missing the Sun Devils’ opener for an unspecified violation of team rules.He showed some signs of obvious rust with a game-high six turnovers and threefouls but did hit 5-of-10 shots and 6-of-9 free throws while notching thedouble-double. Overall, Holder (21.0 points), Evans (19.5) and Lake (19.5) areall off to sizzling offensive starts while Holder is also averaging 8.5rebounds and seven assists.
1. Arizona State owns a 21-7 series lead since1950, but Northern Arizona has won three of the last four meetings dating backto 1998.
2. Holder and Evans are each 6-of-17 on 3-point attemptsso far while the rest of the Sun Devils are a combined 5-of-21 from long range.
3. Arizona State announced earlier this week thatprize recruit Kimani Lawrence, a freshman forward, will miss the next 4-to-6weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot.
PREDICTION: Arizona State 96, Northern Arizona 69