Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley wanted to see his team show some fight after a blowout loss at the hands of Northern Iowa on Wednesday.
His group answered its coaches call, defeating the Tulane Green Wave 80-71 in a consolation-round match at the Tire Pros Invitational in Orlando, Fla. on Friday.
The Sun Devils (3-1) broke their routine slow start, jumping out to an early 8-1 lead catapulted by 3-pointers from freshman wing Sam Cunliffe and junior guard Shannon Evans II. They were just two of the 12 3-pointers ASU made on the night.
Despite the quick start, the Green Wave battled with the Sun Devils, even claiming a two-point lead at one point in the frame before ASU managed to get out to a 40-29 halftime lead.
Evans and senior guard Torian Graham combined for 21 of the Sun Devils’ first-half output, hitting 8 of 15 field goals. The Sun Devils shot 46.4 percent from the field through the first 20 minutes of play, allowing the Green Wave to only connect on 34.8 percent of their shots.
However, Tulane didn’t go down easily, climbing back from a 13-point deficit to draw within three points just over halfway through the second half.
The Green Wave comeback was sparked by the scoring of guards Melvin Frazier (22 points) and Cameron Reynolds (17 points), who helped Tulane to a 47.1 shooting percentage in the second half.
Still, the Sun Devils managed to hang on, with Graham hitting key shots to repel the Green Wave’s effort en route to leading ASU to its third win of the season.
Graham (22 points), Evans (21 points), and Cunliffe (10 points) all reached double-figures scoring, as the team shot 43.1 percent from the field.
The ASU offense, despite limited production from junior point guard Tra Holder (8 points, 2 of 7 field goals), was once again busy and efficient at the free-throw line, hitting 20 of 27 attempts (74.1 percent).
Next, the Sun Devils will face Davidson in the next round of consolation play on Sunday.