The trip to Las Vegas always included a circled game for everyone’s Sun Devil basketball schedule. The Sun Devils entered halftime with a 15-point lead, but the 15th ranked Bulldogs weren’t going to go down without a fight.
Mississippi State (3-1) tied the game with a little over a minute left in the game after sophomore guard Nick Weatherspoon’s three-pointer put everyone at 65. That wasn’t the most clutch bucket, sophomore forward Kimani Lawrence nailed his three-pointer the following possession. Arizona State (4-0) held on to the lead after that with a pair of free throws from sophomore guard Remy Martin and a put away slam by Lawrence to lock up the 72-67 win on Monday.
Lawrence led the Sun Devils in scoring with 22 points, he shot 64% from the field. His 12-point first half helped Arizona State surge to a 23-7 run to end the half. Lawrence had a major reason in why the Sun Devils found themselves up 39-24 at the break. While his teammates shot 9-for-25 in the first half, Lawrence was 5-for-6.
ASU also out-rebounded the Bulldogs 27 to 12 in the first half. They saw the script flipped on them in the second half, Mississippi State got nine more rebounds than the Sun Devils after halftime. Nine of the 22 rebounds were on the offensive side of the floor, that created 10 second-chance points for Mississippi State.
Bulldogs’ senior forward Aric Holman had much to do with that. Holman matched Lawrence’s game-high 22 points alongside 10 rebounds for a double-double. He shot 9-or-15, being efficient on the floor with his minutes.
For a third consecutive time, ASU held an opponent under 70 points. Mississippi State shot 36% all together and an even worse 27% from beyond the arc. This will mostly be the standard of Bobby Hurley’s squad for this year, is attempting to grind out wins like this.
Three other Sun Devils joined Lawrence with double digit points. Martin had 16, redshirt senior forward Zylan Cheatham had 12 and freshman guard Luguentz Dort added 17 more. Dort and Cheatham were tied with a team-high nine rebound, while Martin led the way with seven assists.
Redshirt junior Rob Edwards did not travel with the team, still nursing a back injury. However, Hurley said it’s nothing to be concerned about.
The Sun Devils with play Utah State on Wednesday with a 9 p.m. tip Arizona time.