Coming off a two-game skid, ASU basketball got back on track with a dominant 83-61 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes in Tempe Saturday afternoon.
Behind a surprise lineup change, the Sun Devils’ influx of size and ball movement stumped the Buffs straight out of the gates. The new starting lineup featured the likes of Zylan Cheatham, Romello White, De’Quon Lake, Rob Edwards and Kimani Lawrence.
Their intensity on the defensive end and size in the lane left little-to-no operating room for coach Tad Boyle‘s Buffaloes. Colorado’s offense was held to just 33 percent shooting from the floor and never found the way to break through ASU’s suffocating 2-3 zone.
“When you put Zylan, Melo and Lake in, you’re kind of securing the backline of your defense, and I thought that was good initially for us,” ASU coach Bobby Hurley said. “That was a main priority after giving up 96 points on Thursday night.”
The lineup change came as a surprise to fans, but Hurley mentioned that it wasn’t about sending a message, instead showcasing the team’s versatility and lineup variation.
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“We needed to do something to shake things up a little bit.” Hurley said. “We’ve settled into an eight-man rotation, and really any of those guys can start. We’re just trying to establish that level of accountability.”
On offense, White has quickly become the player Sun Devil fans expected when he committed to ASU in 2016. The big man scored a season high 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds to go with it.
His offensive feel and ability to pass out of the high post have been a revelation in the previous four games, but Hurley knew White was capable of more than scoring.
“He’s comfortable in the paint, and you’ve seen when he gets the ball in man defense, if teams go and double, he can pass,” Hurley said. “He’s got a good feel for that. He’s got nice touch and made a nice little 10-footer facing up. I liked a lot of what he did.”
It wasn’t just White, however. This was a true team effort. Five separate Sun Devils scored in double digits in the victory. Remy Martin displayed his point-guard prowess, dishing out a season-high eight assists and displayed command and control operating the offense.
Assists were aplenty for ASU who compiled 24 total on the night. The second half was especially fruitful as the Sun Devils recorded an assist on each of their 15 made field goals.
“This is the first game I feel like we put 40 minutes together, playing together as a team,” White said. “Everybody did their part, everybody played good defense. We did this together for the whole forty minutes.”
Taeshon Cherry especially stood out in the victory for ASU, not because of his stat line, but because of the infectious effort displayed on both ends. The freshman was diving for loose balls, jumping into the stands and showing Tempe he’s more than just a shooter.
The Sun Devils now sit with a record of 10-4 on the season and 1-1 in the Pac-12. This win serves as a reminder to what this team is capable of on both ends.
ASU returns to the court Wednesday to face the California Golden Bears in Berkeley. Tip-off is at 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcasted via Pac-12 Networks.
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.