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ASU Basketball: White stays hot and powers Sun Devils to victory

Big man doing big things

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Arizona State David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

In Arizona State’s (6-2) 77-62 win against Louisiana Lafayette (5-4), the Sun Devils flexed depth and a stifling first-half defense. Led by a phenomenal effort from forward, Romello White, ASU was flat-out better on both ends of the floor.

White started hot, hitting three shots, pulling down three rebounds and recording one block all in the first four minutes of the game. The Sun Devils rolled early and never trailed.

The junior carried that same energy for the rest of the game and finished with a game-high 19 points on 7-9 shooting. He also added 14 rebounds (six offensive), and a block during his 33 minutes (team-high) of action.

Saturday’s performance marked the 10th career double-double for White.

“I feel like I’ve gotten into a groove and I’ve been trying to stay consistent with my play,” White said. “So that’s really what I’ve been focused on... taking my time when I get the ball and just really trying to dominate on both ends of the floor.”

That approach is paying dividends for the forward who was incredibly efficient.

Much of his impact didn’t show up on the stat sheet. His passing from the post was superb, and even though he didn’t record an assist, it helped stimulate the offense and created ball movement. Defensively he disrupted shots and forced ULL to play much of their game on the perimeter.

Additionally, he affected the game through his emotion and energy on the court. White flexed after big plays, had thundering put-backs and kept Desert Financial Arena rocking. All teams need players that bring positive energy, and for ASU, White is clearly one of them.

“Good things happened when he had the ball bottom line,” said head coach Bobby Hurley. “He had really good passes out of the post, he went to the offensive glass and battled in the paint to rebound. He was one of the primary reasons why we’re you know we were in the position we were late in the game.”

Hurley was disappointed with his team’s overall play despite the victory. Even so, White’s performance shone through and further proved his consistency.

He has been a bright spot for the Sun Devils all season. The big man has scored in double figures in every game he has played in except for the home opener against Central Connecticut State when he only played 13 minutes. Saturday marked his second consecutive double-double.

Hurley has reiterated that this year’s iteration of Sun Devils basketball looks like the “Guard U” era from two years ago. That squad lived and died outside the three-point line and saw considerable success with a small lineup. ASU didn’t mimic that success on Saturday shooting 23.1 percent (6-26) from behind the arc. Fortunately for Sun Devils fans, White was there to grab rebounds and dominate the paint.

“When you look at 6-26 guys have to start hitting from three,” Hurley said. “Especially when you have a guy down low that is as productive as Romello is going to be. Those shots are going to be there, they gotta connect at a better rate.”

If they do, ASU will be scoring in bunches and be a very difficult team to play, especially with how well White has been playing recently.