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ASU Basketball: Martin comes up clutch for the Sun Devils against GCU

Remy in the clutch

NCAA Basketball: San Diego State at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State Sun Devils (4-2) hit the road to take on the Grand Canyon Lopes (4-1) for some Sunday college hoops. The game came down to the final seconds and a game-winning shot from Remy Martin to boost the Sun Devils to a 71-70 victory.

Sunday’s long-awaited matchup with ASU and GCU finally happened and it didn’t disappoint.

With just over a minute and a half remaining in the game, the Sun Devils held a four-point lead off a Remy Martin jump shot. However, that would change quickly.

Back-to-back threes from Jovan Blacksher Jr. and Alessandro Lever gave the Lopes a late lead with 30 seconds remaining. Bobby Hurley called a timeout with 23.7 seconds remaining, setting up one last shot.

Out of the timeout, Alonzo Verge drove baseline and kicked it out to Martin in the corner. He drilled the 3-pointer to give Arizona State (4-2) the 71-70 victory.

“Coach drew up a great play for me to get the back screen of Tae (Cherry),” Martin said. “It was my night tonight.”

The last shot was three of Martin’s 31 points in the game, which led all scorers. Martin turned it on in the second half, scoring 23 points in the final 20 minutes.

“It was a hard-fought game,” Hurley said. “Remy had a huge spurt there in the second half and showed why he’s such a big-time player.”

Arizona State’s strong second half carried them following a first half full of struggles.

The Sun Devils couldn’t drop in shots from the field throughout the first half, shooting under 39 percent, including 1-for-9 from beyond the arc.

They also went a period of nearly seven minutes without a made field goal. The missed shots led to a season-low 29 points in the first half.

Additionally, the team committed 12 fouls in the first half, including eight in the first 10 and a half minutes. ASU’s 12 fouls led to 13 points off free-throws for the Lopes.

Hurley’s squad also turned the ball over eight times, which contributed to GCU gaining a lead as high as seven points.

Despite all of the mishaps, a late 13-7 run to end the half cut the Lopes lead to one point going into the locker room. ASU’s top scorers, Martin and Josh Christopher, combined for 12 points off 3-13 shooting.

The Sun Devils shot a lot better in the second half, hitting over 54 percent of their shots, including 6-for-10 from three-point range.

Christopher went 4-for-5 in the second half after shooting 0-for-5 in the first half. Martin shot 9-for-12 after only going 3-for-8 in the first half.

Along with the shooting, ASU only committed four second half turnovers and only let the Lopes take six free-throws.

ASU did need a last second shot from their senior leader in Martin to secure the win in the school’s first game since 1980, but the improved second half play aided the comeback victory.

“We got the win,” Martin said. “That’s all that matters, but we have a lot to work on.”

With Sunday’s win, ASU improves to 4-2 and will host UTEP on Wednesday.