Arizona State was soaring after three consecutive victories over the Washington schools, but they came back to earth Thursday night after a 75-61 loss to No. 24 Colorado.
This game was billed as one of the last times that PAC-12 greats McKinley Wright IV of Colorado and Remy Martin of ASU would face each other in college. Thursday saw Wright get the better of Martin.
Coming off eight straight games with 20 or more points, including the game-winner against Washington State last Friday night, Martin’s stock dropped after the senior scuffled his way to six points. Wright, meanwhile, scorched the Devils for 24 points.
This team has become much more Martin-centric in recent weeks, mostly with success in the win column as Martin tore through the PAC-12, and tonight finally showed the negative returns that come with an overbearing reliance on one player.
The same time frame that Martin has turned his season around from a disappointment to a career year has seen his teammate and second-leading scorer Alonzo Verge Jr. take on a smaller role in the offense.
Thursday night was the first game in a long time the Sun Devils asked Verge to reassume his primary shooting role.
He answered the call, leading the team with 12 shots attempted, but finished with few shots ending in the basket, scoring eight points on only three of those 12 shots from the field being made.
With their admirals both missing the performance they have put forth all season, the Sun Devils needed reinforcements from the reserves. Throughout the game, it was Holland Woods and sophomore Jaelen House, both guards, that came to the front lines.
House, who has strung back-to-back impressive games together coming off a 10-point outing against Washington State, equaled his season-high with 13 against Colorado. Woods led the team with 15 points.
“It was Woods and it was House,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said postgame. “Those two guys, they really did some things offensively, especially in the first half. (They) were a combined 7-for-8 from the field in the first half and we were shooting I think 39 percent in the first half.”
ASU was able to contain Wright in the first half, and as a result, it was just a one-point deficit at the end of the first half. Not so much in the second half, as Wright brushed the Sun Devils away with 17 points, only missing three field goal attempts.
That, combined with a series of turnovers from the Sun Devils, catapulted Colorado far ahead of ASU in the final 20 minutes. The poor shot selection from the team was also a consistent theme.
“Even though we had nine, we had probably three or four other offensive possessions that were the equivalent of a turnover,” Hurley said.
For the Sun Devils, it was a night where it seemed that all the potential reasons they could win, ended up being all the reasons they lost.
Wright outclassed Martin. The team shot poorly from the outside. ASU severely lost the rebounding battle 44-28.
But if there was a positive to take from a disappointing performance, it was the return of freshman Marcus Bagley.
After an absence stretching back to Jan. 30, Bagley didn’t score, but grabbed seven rebounds. More importantly, he looked healthy in his 20 minutes coming off his ankle injury.
“We got his conditioning right, game reps and there’s no replacing that. I’m sure he’ll get a lot out of this game,” Hurley said. “I think the goal is to get him as good as we can get him by next week when the season’s on the line.”
The Sun Devils will wrap up their regular season with a road game against Utah on Saturday afternoon at noon. The game will air on FS1.