ASU Basketball: Sun Devils host rival Arizona in ranked showdown

TUCSON, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Dusan Ristic
TUCSON, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Dusan Ristic /

After sweeping the L.A. schools last week, No. 25 ASU basketball faces their biggest home game of the season taking on the No. 17 Arizona Wildcats.

With three straight wins in a row, the Sun Devils are certainly carrying more momentum into Thursday’s game than the Wildcats, who went 1-2 in their last three games with their only win against USC.

Led by junior guard Allonzo Trier and freshman forward Deandre Ayton, who have each recorded an average of over 19 points a game, the Wildcats are no strangers to ending Sun Devil winning streaks as they handed the ASU their first loss during the season opener after the Sun Devils went undefeated during non-conference.

Ayton will be the biggest challenge for the Sun Devils, averaging 19.5 points and 10.7 rebounds, the freshman forward will be a significant obstacle for the newly adjusted Sun Devil frontcourt.

On top of that, ASU will need to contain sophomore Rawle Alkins, who is averaging 46 percent from the field and averaging 13.6 points a game.

With a line up containing, Trier, Ayton, Alkins and adding seven-foot senior center Dusan Ristic, the Wildcats are traveling to ‘The Bank’ ready for the rivalry game.

But the home team isn’t to be counted out either, the Sun Devils are coming off some big wins and seem to be back in the same form that they were in during the non-conference.

Led by senior guards Tra Holder, Kodi Justice, and Shannon Evans II, the Sun Devils will need to set their fast-paced transition tempo early into the game.

For the Sun Devils, the guards’ ability to draw fouls and make shots at the line will be a major factor for ASU.

If Holder, shooting 85 percent from the free throw line and Evans II, shooting 86 percent, can make it to the line, the Sun Devils should have some insurance when it comes to putting up points.

In addition to their guards, the Sun Devils frontcourt have given the guards ample support on both defensive and offensive production.

With junior forward, De’Quon Lake and freshman big men Romello White and Kimani Lawrence, who had his first big game against UCLA after his slow come back from injury, the Sun Devils’ frontcourt has been gaining traction especially on offensive production.

Next: ASU Basketball: 2018 Pac-12 Week 7 Power Rankings

The Sun Devils will have to capitalize on drawing fouls and feeding the men on the inside if they want to stay above .500 in Pac-12 play and record a rivalry win at The Bank. Tip off against the Wildcats is at 7 p.m. MT at Wells Fargo Arena and it can be seen on ESPN.