Newcomers shine brightly in ASU’s first win
By TJ Mathewson // ASU Men’s Basketball Beat Writer for Blaze Sports
TEMPE, AZ — Newcomers De’Quon Lake and Vitaliy Shibel made huge differences in their first games as a Sun Devils, in which ASU defeated Idaho State, 94-74, on Friday night.
For a team that struggled with rebounding, shot-blocking and overall size in the 2016-17 season, Lake and Shibel provided all three in their debuts.
Lake, the junior transfer from Western State, swatted three shots and put up 24 points shooting an efficient 8 of 10 from the field.
“It just gives us more swag when you have a guy who can show off that kind of athletic ability,” ASU coach Bobby Hurley said on Lake. “He has a feel for playing around the basket”
“It just started with a great week of practice,” Lake said on his performance. “I just transferred it to the game.”
Lake made his presence felt late in the first half with two blocks in the span of a minute, including one in which he swatted the ball out of bounds like a volleyball.
Shibel, a redshirt freshman from Ukraine, also showed out, grabbing eight rebounds and blocking a shot to go along with four points.
The presence inside helped ASU shoot 52.3% from the field while only allowing ISU to shoot 44%, out-scored them 42-32 in the paint and out-rebound the Bengals, 41-29.
The Devils also blocked five shots on the night.
Hurley noted that he like the way his team rebounded on the night, getting the long defensive rebounds as well as the offensive rebounds and Lake tipping rebounds to his teammates.
This was not an easy task for Lake and Shibel, who were matched up with Bengals’ seven-footer Novak Topalovic for the 25 minutes he was on the court. Topalovic finished with 13 points and six rebounds, while also failing to block a shot.
With the Ramon Vila transfer announced before the game, Lake and Shibel are going to be given even more opportunities to prove they are the presence inside that the Sun Devils desperately need.
All of this and neither redshirt freshman forward Romello White or freshman forward Kimani Lawrence played Friday night. White put up 14 points and 10 rebounds in his only game, an exhibition vs USD, while Kimani Lawrence saw time in all three exhibition games for ASU before injuring his ankle in practice Thursday.
TJ Mathewson is a beat writer for Blaze Sports covering ASU Men’s Basketball. You can reach out to him at email@example.com or follow TJ on Twitter @TJM5518