Remy Martin was dishing off no-look assists, De’Quon Lake slammed a reverse alley-oop, and walk-on Austin Witherill hit a deep 3 with 1:41 to play, energizing the 11,737 at “The Bank.”
“There were so many examples of us playing with the swagger to how we play,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said. “We didn’t even shoot it that great.”
And it was still good enough to win by 31.
“I like to play with a little flash in my game — get the crowd going,” Martin said. “As long as I don’t turn it over and it gets through. That’s all that matters.”
The Arizona State Sun Devils (20-9, 8-9 Pac-12) finally had again fun Thursday night, snapping a three-game losing skid with an 84-53 over the California Golden Bears (8-22, 2-15) at Wells Fargo Arena.
The Sun Devils didn’t trail once. And Cal didn’t make a single three-pointer.
“We back to who we are,” Romello White said.
Arizona State had come off the longest current losing streak in the Pac-12. The Sun Devils had been rough-housed in the paint, 44-26, to Oregon State, and let Oregon out-rebound ASU, 40-32.
On Thursday night, Arizona State’s front court knocked down the Golden Bears in both categories. Most of it is thanks to White, who sealed his sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Big man De’Quon Lake added 10. Kimani Lawrence had a career-high nine points.
“I just felt like they were lazy,” White said. “I was just walking in front of them, dunking them in, getting deep post touches... Why not attack them if they play like that? Why not go after them the whole game?”
Shannon Evans led ASU with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while Mickey Mitchell and Tra Holder each had 13, and Kodi Justice notched his 1,000th career point in Arizona State’s win.
The closest Cal got to ASU was 20-19 with 8:16 left in the first half, and the Sun Devils led 39-29 at halftime. A 17-6 scoring burst to start the second half brought ASU to a 21-point lead with 12:57 to play.
From then on, the closest Cal came was down 15.
“We wanted to be in attack mode,” Hurley said. “It’s kind of what we did way early in the season in terms of the number of free throws we shot today.”
Twenty-eight free throws to be exact. Cal? Eleven.
ASU next hits the hardwood against Stanford (16-14, 10-7) on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in its final game of the regular season.