ASU Basketball: Martin sets career high in comeback victory at Cal

TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 13: Remy Martin
TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 13: Remy Martin /

A career night from Remy Martin helped ASU basketball erase a 14-point deficit and pick up its first Pac-12 road win against Cal, 80-66.

Much like his team’s identity, ASU coach Bobby Hurley’s plans are unstructured. Even on the heels of a 22-point blitz of Colorado – the team’s best two-way performance – the concept of a steady starting five has been unworkable.

Tonight, he organized the third different group in as many games, opting for brawn (Luguentz Dort) over length (De’Quon Lake) while keeping the surrounding pieces – Rob Edwards, Kimani Lawrence, Zylan Cheatham and Romello White – intact. Against California (5-10, 0-3) – a middling opponent that lost four of its last five and nine of 14 overall – a quick start would’ve likely given more room for operation.

Instead, like its losses to Utah and Princeton, the Sun Devils (11-4, 2-1) looked untreatable. An erratic first 13 minutes – where the team yielded to temptations of quick shots and narrow spacing in a 2-3 zone – buried them in a 25-11 deficit, shooting 3-of-18 from the field and doubling turnovers (4) from assists (2).

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Needing a spark, Hurley’s cure didn’t come from the starters. Instead, it came from the bench, as sophomore guard Remy Martin set a career high in points for the second time in three games with a 24-point, eight-assist outing in ASU’s 80-66 win over Cal Wednesday night.

Martin led the second unit for the second straight contest. After starting and scoring a then-record of 22 points against Utah, he didn’t score a single point against Colorado. However, he was a vital part in breaking down the Buffalo zone with eight assists.

Tonight, he served as a dual playmaker and scorer, hitting big shots and creating opportunities in the halfcourt.

With ASU trailing by 14, Martin began to work. He took and hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to end a three-minute scoring drought, encouraging his teammates in the process.

Two possessions later, a stepback jumper in the paint cut Cal’s lead to single digits, 27-18, with 5:14 remaining in the half. The Bears built the lead back to 11, but Martin began to flip the script, firing the first of many no-look, one-handed passes to Cheatham for an and-one finish, cutting Cal’s lead to 33-24 with 3:03 left in the period.

From there, the Sun Devils went on a 9-2 run, utilizing Martin on every point to cut Cal’s lead to 35-33 by halftime.

In the second, Martin worked from the outside-in. He helped orchestrate two post isolation opportunities for Cheatham, who converted two 3-point plays to build ASU’s then-biggest lead at 47-41.

Then, it was time for Martin to take over. With his team’s offense in a four-minute, 13-second scoring drought, he buried a 3-pointer in the corner above ASU’s bench to bring the life back. On the next play, he pulled the trigger and drilled right above the ‘C’ in Cal’s midcourt logo, putting the Sun Devils ahead by nine.

From there, his teammates closed the deal. Cheatham finished with 17 points, six rebounds and two assists and Edwards recorded seven of his 13 points in the final 5:23.

As a team, the Sun Devils shot 15-of-26 (57.1 percent) from the field, 4-of-11 (36.4 percent) from the 3-point line and 13-of-16 (81.3 percent) from the free throw line in the second half. They outscored Cal by 16 points, finishing with advantages in rebounds (+1), bench points (+16) and points in the paint (+12).

In defeat, the Bears’ Matt Bradley finished with a season high of 19 points paired with three rebounds. Darius McNeill followed suit with 16 points.

Next. ASU Basketball: Hurley, players looking for consistency during Bay Area road trip. dark

With the victory, the Sun Devils took the first step toward sweeping their first Pac-12 road weekend in 34 attempts. On Saturday, the team will look to finish well against Stanford, who is currently battling with Arizona. The game will tip off at 4 p.m. and can be viewed via Pac-12 Networks.