ASU Basketball: Evans restores belief in comeback victory

TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 13: Shannon Evans II
TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 13: Shannon Evans II /

Down 13 with 11:32 remaining, it felt like this season’s spark for ASU Basketball would be extinguished by their fourth loss in five games. Shannon Evans decided enough was enough.

It was an odd, yet encouraging moment.

After his team put together a much-needed stop on defense, Shannon Evans immediately ran to the left sideline. He threw his hands in the air, encouraging the Wells Fargo Arena crowd to get loud and rowdy.

The Sun Devils were down 11, yet Evans was as energetic as ever. With Oregon State putting together a 13-3 run over a span of 2:42, it was just hard to get excited over a small victory on defense. A few stood people stood, but most sat down at Evans’ request.

He took that as a personal challenge.

On the ensuing offensive possession, Evans drove to the basket and finished with a tough lay-in through contact. After the shot, he dashed back over to the same sideline, looking to regain the approval of those who remained seated.

More people stood. His energy was becoming infectious, and more people were beginning to buy into his mission to bring his team back in the game.

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Now playing defense, Evans needed one last moment to gain the approval of the whole crowd.

After working Oregon State late in the shot clock, he went right to the paint looking to grab a defensive rebound. He didn’t get the board, but he drew an offensive foul on the Beavers’ Ronnie Stacy.

Evans ran right back to that left sideline. By that time, he’d gained the favor that he was looking for, and the Sun Devil fans now had something they didn’t have just two minutes prior:


“I just felt like none of us wanted to lose,” Evans said about the run. “We’re trying to get back on the right track, [and] I just tried to come up with big plays.”

Sparking an 11-0 run, the Devils were able to find themselves down just two with 8:42 to play.

However, Oregon State wasn’t about to submit to Evans’ will. In three straight possessions, the Beavers nailed three deep jumpshots late in the shot clock, efforts that seemed to deflate any buckets the Devils would make on the offensive end.

Despite coach Hurley having to take a timeout, it didn’t seem to flatten anybody.

“It was a fun team to go to battle with,” said Hurley after the game. “Down the stretch, the plays that were made were by multiple guys, so you can’t really single out one particular player.”

After four straight points from Evans, Remy Martin went coast-to-coast for a three-point play to give the Devils their first lead since the first half. Kodi Justice found De’Quon Lake for an alley-oop slam on the next possession, and the players finally felt that they were in control of the game.

“Our energy picked back up,” said Justice. “We were picking up full-court, we were pressuring the ball, and we were speeding them up so they could play at our pace.”

“[We] were trying to get out in transition and use each other,” added Evans. “We were just trying to use each other and feed off of each other, and I feel that’s what we did [in the second half].”

After going scoreless with one shot attempt in the first half, Evans exploded for 22 points, four rebounds and four assists in the final 20 minutes, a stat-line that allowed him to poke some fun at coach Hurley after the game.

“Coach Hurley didn’t give me the ball; I blame that on him,” Evans joked. “I should’ve had 40, but he didn’t give me the ball in the first half. I should talk to him about that.”

Hurley didn’t feel the need to counter.

Next: ASU Basketball: Ducks hand Devils first home loss of the season

“Shannon was in attack mode; he wasn’t going to let us lose. To get 22 in the second half in a game that was a possession game, he was as efficient as you could be.”

All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.