Freshman point guard Remy Martin took a few deep breaths before he sank one of two free throws to extend the Arizona State Sun Devils’ lead to 92-90 with five seconds to go against the Kansas State Wildcats.
KSU guard Barry Brown, who led the Wildcats with 27 points, sprinted down the court and threw up a layup that was off target. The Sun Devils (5-0) survived in Las Vegas.
Arizona State entered the second half down 44-42. The Sun Devils had allowed the Wildcats to shoot 63 percent from the field in the first half, as Romello White had three fouls on just four points.
Two minutes into the next half, the Wildcat lead grew greater. Kansas State kicked off the second period on a 7-0 run to take a 51-42 lead. That was the greatest lead KSU would see all night. It was crushed in just four shots.
ASU answered with a 12-2 run to lead 54-53 with 13:51 remaining. From then on, the Wildcats led just twice more before the Sun Devils led from the 11:55 mark onward.
Arizona State led by as much as eight points in a second half turnaround dominated by senior guard Kodi Justice who finished with a single-game career hi28 points. Justice scored 19 points in the second half, hitting a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.
White scored 15 of his 19 points in the final 20 minutes, while Shannon Evans had 14 and Tra Holder had 11. De’Quon Lake was the lone player on the floor with a double-double, as he scored 11 and rebounded 10.
Where the Sun Devils truly won the game, though, was the charity stripe. While ASU shot just 66 percent from the line, the Sun Devils made 29 of 44 free throws compared to Kansas State’s seven of 9.
As a team, Arizona State is shooting free throws at just 68.9 percent. White, the most frequent Sun Devil at the line, has made 24 of 43 free throws, shooting 55.8 percent from the line. He made just seven of 15 on Thursday.
The Sun Devils’ next opponent, the No. 15 Xavier Musketeers is shooting 76.3 percent from the line, a mark that’s good enough for top-60 in the nation.
The Musketeers and Sun Devils clash in the Las Vegas Cotinental Tire Invitational championship game at 3:30 p.m. MT