Behind another explosive second half, ASU basketball pulled off a historic upset, defeating No. 2 Kansas 95-85 at Allen Fieldhouse.
Resiliency has been one of the driving forces behind the Sun Devils this season. Give them an inch and they will take a mile.
Faced with an early 15-2 hole less than two minutes into the game, Arizona State appeared to be overwhelmed by the Jayhawks and the hostile environment at Allen Fieldhouse. A quick time out followed by an 8-0 run was all ASU needed to reignite itself.
“It was on our board… We knew that they would take a big swing at us early in the game and see if they could knock us out. We overcame that early deficit and just want to get our feet under us in the game and give ourselves a chance to show what we’re capable of doing,” said head coach Bobby Hurley.
What ensued over the final 18 minutes of the half was a stalemate as ASU and KU matched the other pound-for-pound. At half time, the Jayhawks led 40-37 with senior Devonte’ Graham controlling the game for KU.
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On the back of senior Tra Holder and his 15 first-half points, ASU overcame shooting 39 percent from the floor and kept the opening period close. He finished with 29 points and played the full 40 minutes.
Out of the break, pandemonium ensued.
ASU weathered an early push from the Jayhawks before Kansas went nearly five minutes without a basket. Coincidingly, the Sun Devils offense erupted. By the time Lagerald Vick ended the scoring drought, ASU led by 11 and never looked back.
“The game slowed down for us,” said Tra Holder. “At first it was really rapid, the crowd got into it but we [Shannon] were telling each other to pick the spots that we could find each other and attack the defense and it worked out.”
On what was Kodi Justice’s coldest shooting night of the year, freshman Remy Martin stepped in, scored a career-high 21 points and contained Graham in the second half.
KU continued to push down the stretch, questioning Arizona State’s ability to finish but Shannon Evans was continually the answer. The senior matched the Jayhawks with several three-pointers and contested layups to stave off any rally.
“Shannon [Evans] made some huge threes late as they were chipping away at our advantage, what a player he is, “said Hurley. “He’s one of the best guards in the country.”
A win for ASU marks KU head coach Bill Self’s 11th home loss since 2003 but more importantly, removes the title of ‘darling’ from the Sun Devils and instead replaces it with ‘contender’. The No. 16 Sun Devils likely await a jump into the top-10 of the AP poll following a 2-0 week.
At Allen Fieldhouse, “the Mecca” of college basketball, the Kansas Jayhawks answered to a higher power on Sunday.
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unkess otherwise noted.