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ASU Basketball: No. 3 Sun Devils blow out Longwood in tale of two halves, 95-61

ASU led by just 5 at halftime. The deficit only grew from then on.

NCAA Basketball: Longwood at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The second half of the game counts most, and the Arizona State Sun Devils (11-0) made the most of it in a 95-61 win over the Longwood Lancers (3-9) on Tuesday night.

The Sun Devils nearly outscored Longwood, with second half points alone, dropping 60 of them. It was the second-most points scored in the second half by ASU in the last 15 seasons.

It was a tale of two halves, though, and once again, the Sun Devils found themselves neck-and-neck with a weaker opponent. Tied up, 31-31, with 1:50 to go, ASU led the Lancers just 35-30 after the first half.

“We’ve got to clean that up,” Hurley said. “Taking nothing away from Longwood, but this opponent, if we had done that in some other games, it might have been a different result.”

It was a matter of shooting. Arizona State shot 33 percent compared to Longwood’s 39 percent clip in the first 20 minutes before a much-improved 53 percent shooting second half.

It was evident; however, that the Sun Devils’ defense was what sparked the hot shooting.

“Coach has told us as a group to be aggressive in the second half. ‘Attack the zone,’” Forward Mickey Mitchell said.

The Sun Devils put on a full court press, gunning out to a 19-2 run. It took just seven minutes into the second half for ASU to surge from up five to 21.

Tra Holder led the Sun Devils with 20 points and six assists, while Kodi Justice added 18. De’Quon Lake and Remy Martin most filled the stat sheet most, though.

Martin had a career-high in assists and rebounds with nine and seven respectively and scored 13. Lake just missed a double-double, scoring 16 and rebounding nine.

Aside from statistics, Mickey Mitchell had the biggest night.

With a pair of both blocks and steals, his physicality showed. Two of his three field goals were dunks. One was a 180, double-pump jam that shook the crowd.

“I think that is some of the football player in me,” Mitchell said. “Just wanting to go do it, not worrying about the consequences — just playing hard really is my mentality.”

Martin, on the other hand, covered the line, nearly completing a triple-double. Martin (13 points), Mitchell (12), and Lake (16) were all a part of ASU’s bench who outscored Longwood 41-12.

Hurley was asked if he knew Martin would play this well, this early this when he recruited him. He nodded, then praised him for his unpredictability.

“He’s my type of guy,” Hurley said. “When the ball is in his hands, you don’t really know what he’s going to do. And it’s usually really good, but it’s always very interesting.”

ASU next plays Pacific on Friday, Dec. 22 at 1 p.m. MT before taking on Arizona in the McKale Center on Dec. 30.

Hurley has an idea of how good his team is. However, he’s 10 days from conference play, and may have brought up the postseason.

“My evaluation of the success of this team will come as we get to Pac-12 play and we see where we stand there and then beyond the Pac-12 season.”