Arizona State finishes out non-conference play undefeated as they dismantle Pacific
By Andrew Bell // Men’s Basketball Beat Writer for Blaze Sports
TEMPE, Ariz — The ASU men’s basketball team capped off its non-conference schedule with a 104-65 blowout of the University of Pacific on Friday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.
]With the 12-0 start, ASU is off to the second longest win streak in school history behind only the 1961 team that won 18 games in a row.
As for the game itself, ASU controlled the tempo from the opening tip-off. The Sun Devils had six players in double figures while shooting 54 percent from the field. Friday’s victory was the third time this season that ASU has scored 100 points or more.
Senior guards Kodi Justice, Tra Holder and Shannon Evans II combined for 52 points, and freshman guard Remy Martin rounded out the dynamic backcourt with 14 points, four rebounds and six assists in 26 minutes of play.
As for the front court, ASU redshirt freshman forward Romello White had 16 points on 6-7 shooting and junior forward De’Quon Lake recorded 12 points and seven blocks.
Lake and Martin put on a show in the second half with electric plays on both sides of the ball en route to an ASU victory.
Although there has not been a need for too many changes during the best start in program history, ASU did make one small adjustment on Friday afternoon.
Following back-to-back solid performances against Longwood and Vanderbilt, ASU sophomore forward Mickey Mitchell was thrown into the starting lineup in place of redshirt freshman forward Vitaliy Shibel.
Shibel is averaging 3.4 points per game while Mitchell has averaged 6.7 points in just over 18 minutes a game.
After putting up 12 points against Longwood, Mitchell finished Friday’s contest with six points and nine rebounds, while Shibel came off of the bench and scored two points in 10 minutes played.
“Mickey fits right in with our personality,” Hurley said earlier this week. “He is a blue-collar guy and plays hard. Guys respect him, he’s unselfish and he passes, and he also brings a more physical element to our team…it just gives me more lineup flexibility.”
Following an impressive 12-0 start in non-conference play, ASU will shift its attention toward one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the season when they begin Pac-12 play on Dec. 30 at the University of Arizona.
One of the question marks leading into the showdown with the Wildcats is the possible return of ASU freshman forward Kimani Lawrence.
Lawrence participated in ASU’s exhibition games this season before suffering a stress fracture in his lower foot that was expected to keep him out until Christmas.
Hurley has yet to indicate whether Lawrence will play against the Wildcats, but he has been pleased with the freshman’s recovery process.
Lawrence was the No. 57 prospect on the ESPN Top-100 recruiting class in 2017, and he could provide large dividends to an ASU front line that has already seen tremendous growth and success this year.
“We are seeing how he progresses. He is running on his own now. He has been in some non-contact drills that we have done in practice,” Hurley said earlier this week. “We are just going to progress him gradually and he is going to tell us when he is ready to play because he has got such a future ahead of him. I don’t want any more setbacks for him.”
ASU will look to remain undefeated in a hostile environment when they enter the McKale Center to begin conference play next Saturday. With a top-25 Territorial Cup point on the line, ASU is in search of its first win in Tucson since 2010.
Tipoff between ASU and Arizona is set for Saturday, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. MST.
Andrew Bell is one of Blaze Radio’s beat writers for ASU Men’s Basketball. You can reach out to him at email@example.com or follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewBell7 .