ASU Basketball: Martin leads 18-point comeback at Georgia

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 19: Remy Martin
TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 19: Remy Martin /

Trailing by as many as 18 points, ASU basketball used a second-half rally to stun Georgia 76-74 in the first of a two-game, road trip through the SEC.

When Georgia senior guard William Jackson II barely missed on a prayer launched from inside mid-court to end the first half, the Arizona State Sun Devils inhaled a collective sigh of relief. The proximity of the attempt likely came as no surprise and converting would’ve properly capped a 20-minute sequence in which the Bulldogs could do little wrong.

UGA had the nation’s No. 20 team on the ropes, leading 47-29 before four ASU free throws preceded Jackson’s heave.

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Sophomore forwards Rayshaun Hammonds and Nicolas Claxton helped dominate the glass, going into the break with a 22-15 advantage on the boards. Off the bench, junior guard Tyree Crump ignited the Bulldogs offense, spreading the floor as a 3-point threat.

Cumulatively, the trio allocated for 37 first-half points, outscoring the Sun Devils.

Staring down a second straight defeat with the possibility of dropping out of the Associated Press poll, coach Bobby Hurley‘s team drifted into unfamiliar territory.

Five players (Romello White, Luguentz Dort, Zylan Cheatham, Taeshon Cherry and De’Quon Lake) accumulated two fouls in the opening period, forcing Hurley to explore unconventional lineups while UGA capitalized, hitting 20 of 23 free throws in that time.

White, a redshirt sophomore and native of Suwannee, Georgia, recorded 11 of his 16 points before halftime in his homecoming.

On Dort’s coldest shooting performance (2-of-10) of the season, experience and composure proved to be of greater value on Saturday.

Sophomore Remy Martin matched a career-high with 21 points to complement eight rebounds, five assists and three steals as ASU roared back from its largest halftime deficit since 2008.

Martin, known for his frenetic style of play, wreaked his usual havoc defensively but displayed poise as a scorer and distributor, keying a 43-27 second-half edge in scoring to the Sun Devils.

A corner jumper from the sophomore gave ASU its first lead with 2:50 to play.

Never leading by more than three, the Sun Devils sweat out the final minute of the game. Two late-game turnovers put Georgia back in front before Dort converted a layup and stole the ensuing inbounds pass. He split the free throws and once again it was a sigh of relief as Claxton’s pull-up at the buzzer was short.

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The win is ASU’s first true road victory of the year and puts the program back on track following a 72-66 loss to then-No. 6 Nevada. Up next, ASU concludes its brief SEC road trip in Nasvhille against Vanderbilt on Dec. 17.