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ASU Basketball: Sun Devils blow by Washington 97-64

Back in the win column

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State (8-11, 5-8 Pac-12), one of the fastest teams in the nation, matched their speed with scoring Tuesday night at Desert Financial Arena, overwhelming the visiting Washington Huskies (5-18, 4-14) on the way to a 97-64 blowout victory.

A shorthanded Sun Devil team got even more shorthanded when it was confirmed before the game that sophomore forward Jalen Graham, who has been playing some of the best basketball of his college career, was out with a migraine.

But despite playing extended minutes again, the small, figuratively and literally, Sun Devil rotation essentially ran the Huskies off the court from the opening tip.

Senior forward Kimani Lawrence was the star that shined brightest on a night that every Sun Devil player excelled. Lawrence tied his career-high of 22 points, which he previously posted his sophomore year against then No. 22 Mississippi State.

Alonzo Verge Jr. played one of his finest games in a Sun Devil uniform, using his crafty offensive shotmaking ability to hit midrange jump shots seemingly at will, which isn’t exactly out of the ordinary for the senior guard.

What made Tuesday a memorable Verge game was his play on the defensive side, particularly in a first half where he contributed two steals and had a plus-minus rating of plus-29.

It wasn’t just Verge taking the basketball away from the Huskies, it was anyone in a white jersey.

In the opening minutes, Washington appeared to be almost giving the ball away. A little over 10 minutes into the first half, the Huskies had five turnovers, which the Sun Devils converted into nine points.

“I liked our energy and intensity, generating 12 steals,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said postgame.

On this night, nothing was easy for the Huskies. Midway through the second half, the team was shooting an abysmal 30 percent from the free-throw line.

ASU senior guard Remy Martin continued his fantastic offensive play, and was the driving force behind a 19-2 post-halftime run that blew an almost insurmountable lead of 21 points into a blowout advantage of 35 points. Martin finished the night with his 26 points, his sixth consecutive game with 20 or more points.

For one of the first times this season, ASU built a lead large enough for reserves to get long minutes.

Out of that group, Caleb Christopher was the most impressive. The older Christopher scored six points, two assists and knocked down a three-pointer in his seven minutes of action.

This game was rescheduled after the original matchup on Jan. 2 was postponed due to issues with COVID-19.

After two extended breaks due to COVID-19 for the Sun Devil program, including multiple cancelled in-conference games, this contest with Washington was the first makeup game of the season.

The two teams play again in Tempe on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. MT.