In head coach Bobby Hurley’s tenure with ASU basketball, the Sun Devils have never come away with a road sweep in Pac-12 play.
After picking up a hard-fought win against the Cal Golden Bears in Berkeley Wednesday night to move to 11-4, (2-1 Pac-12) the Sun Devils will have the chance to end that drought against 7-8, (0-3 Pac-12) Stanford come Saturday afternoon.
It took the Sun Devils a while to get going against the Bears as they only hit one of their first 12 shots and fell behind early. Luckily, sophomore guard Remy Martin had another career night as he led the team with 24 points and eight assists.
Martin wasn’t the only one who had a big night for the Sun Devils as Zylan Cheatham got himself going on the offensive end, finishing the night with 17 points with 13 of those coming the second half.
While Arizona State ended up winning by 14 points, they had to dig themselves out of an early hole, which is a trend that has taken place far too many times this season.
“In our schedule, where there are multiple days to recover and refocus, there’s no reason that you can’t bring close to your ‘A’ effort every game and pay attention to the details we’re talking about with ball movement,” said coach Bobby Hurley. “So hopefully the guys saw and got a taste of, ‘If you play a certain way, then things can be really good.’
“But it has to be done all the time. You can’t do it when it’s convenient to you.”
One key to success the Sun Devils have seen of late is the play of sophomore forward Romello White over the last four games.
“I just think he’s got great energy, he’s being physical, when he gets his touches he’s taking full advantage of them,” Hurley said. “He’s as efficient a player we have right now with his shooting percentages.
“He’s addressed things we needed him to address defensively. He’s been great in ball-screen defense. He’s really developing and emerging on our team as a guy we can count on.”
Despite winning three of their last four non-conference matchups, the Cardinal have started conference play on a sour note as they have yet to find a win in three tries.
Even though Stanford has struggled at the start of Pac-12 play, the Sun Devils will have to find a way to slow down sophomore forward Kezie Okpala if they want to pick up their third conference win.
Okpala is averaging 17.5 points per game on the season for the Cardinal, but he has stepped up even bigger since beginning league action, upping his scoring totals to 21 per game over the last three contests.
He isn’t just scoring, either. He is doing it at an extremely efficient pace, as he is shooting 48 percent from the field with a 44 percent clip beyond the 3-point line.
If the Sun Devils can get their shots to fall early and slow down Okpala, they should find themselves in a good spot to pick up that first and elusive road sweep under Hurley.
Tip-off between the Arizona State and Stanford is slated for 4:00 p.m. MST at the Maples Pavilion.
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.