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ASU Basketball: Martin leads Sun Devils past Stanford

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Another top performance

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

Arizona State (6-8, 3-5 Pac-12) secured arguably its most impressive win of the season Saturday night over the Stanford Cardinal (10-6, 6-4) 79-75 in Tempe.

The Sun Devils were led by senior guard Remy Martin, who finished the game with 23 points on an efficient 9-15 shooting, providing a reminder as to why the Associated Press selected him as a preseason All-American.

Martin has been clearly aided by the lineup change by Bobby Hurley moving Alonzo Verge Jr. back to the bench role that Verge was very useful in last season.

With Martin as the sole initiator to the Sun Devil offense, there is a considerable increase in ball movement. Consequentially, the team shot 50 percent from the field Saturday night.

Stanford entered as one of the top teams in the PAC-12, and a win would have placed the Cardinal just 0.5 games back of USC in second place.

The catalysts for the Stanford offense all season long, freshman Jaiden Delaire and senior Oscar De Silva, missed zero free-throws and combined for 39 points.

But while Delaire was able to score in volume, active Sun Devil defense and careless mistakes resulted in eight turnovers from Delaire, which swamped any potential run the Cardinal could have gotten off to in the second half.

Verge, who started at shooting guard alongside Martin until he was moved to a sixth-man role prior to the game against Cal on Thursday, played his most efficient game of the season.

The senior finished with 12 points, two of them coming on the game-sealing free-throws with 0.7 seconds left. More importantly, Verge was +11 for the Sun Devils in his 25 minutes, further justifying this lineup change is the way forward for the team.

Freshmen Josh Christopher and Marcus Bagley combined for 26 points in support. For Christopher, the night was filled with three-pointers, and this highlight reel dunk which reminded everyone of the sensational athleticism the former five-star recruit possesses.

Overall, ASU had its chances to put this game away in the second half, but Stanford hung tough despite turning the ball over 20 times. Closing out games is something the Sun Devils and Hurley can look to improve upon during film sessions this week.

Saturday night was a continuation of the positive momentum the team began during the second half on the game last Monday in Tucson against Arizona.

The lineup changes, likely overdue, have worked, and this looks like a completely different basketball team than two weeks ago.

The Devils are off until Thursday, which is a road game against Colorado. The team will follow that up with a Sunday matchup in Utah.