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ASU Basketball: Sun Devils use versatility to top Lumberjacks

Five players reached double-digit scoring in a blowout win

Nicole Hernandez/Houseofsparky.com

A season ago, the Arizona State Sun Devils routinely had four or five players reach double-digit scoring.

That was a necessity. This season, it’s a luxury.

In a 97-62 win over the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at Wells Fargo Arena Friday, five different Sun Devils topped 10 points, led by redshirt freshman Romello White’s 25 and redshirt senior Shannon Evans’s 20.

From the start, ASU got the bigs going. White and junior De’Quon Lake both saw the ball a lot in the paint early on against the smaller Lumberjack front line, resulting in easy buckets for them.

“We got a couple buckets inside and we felt like we should just keep going to it until we started missing or something,” White said. “My point guards kept feeding us and we just kept going to work.”

The domination on the block gave the guards more room to operate on the outside. Evans and senior guard Kodi Justice each made four 3-pointers in the win, stretching out the floor.

Everyone knew what Evans, Justice and senior guard Tra Holder would bring to the offense. They’ve each provided stretches of carrying the scoring load in their time in Tempe.

What was left to be seen, though, was what White, and redshirt freshman Vitaliy Shibel would contribute to the cause.

While Shibel has taken some time to find his place in the offensive attack, Lake and White have been revelations. In three games, Lake has made 22 of 25 shots from the field and grabbed 27 rebounds.

Hurley said he’s not worried about Shibel, who made his first 3-pointer of the season on nine attempts in the closing minutes Friday.

“I’m not focusing on the negativity,” Hurley said. “He’s a young guy, he’s a freshman, he’s playing early in his first season.”

White, who had to sit out the 2016-17 season, has done that much better. He missed the season-opener, but has made his presence known.

“Having a post presence, teams have to respect that now,” Evans said. “Now that they have to look at ‘Mello and scout D-Lake and Vitaliy and try to stop those guys, and if you stop them, you have Tra and Kodi coming at you, too.”

This is all with the Sun Devils still waiting on sophomore Mickey Mitchell and freshman Kimani Lawrence to see their first game action.

But even now, Evans sees stopping this team as an unlikely task.

“There’s so much you have to try and stop, man,” Evans said. “I don’t think anybody can stop all of it. It might be impossible.”