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Martin, Lake showcase No. 3 ASU’s depth in win over Pacific

Arizona State forward De'Quon Lake (35) dunks in front of Pacific forward Jack Williams in the second half during an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Dec 22, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

TEMPE, Ariz. — The No. 3 Arizona State Sun Devils struggled to come out strong and be efficient in its past two games against Vanderbilt and Longwood.

After the game Tuesday, head coach Bobby Hurley took the blame, saying he didn’t do a good enough job of getting his team ready for the game.

Against a 5-7 Pacific team Friday afternoon in the Sun Devils’ last tune-up game before beginning Pac-12 play against rival No. 18 Arizona, they showed why they are the No. 3 team in the country throughout.

They blew out Pacific at home, scoring a season-high 104 points in a 104-65 victory.

The senior guards were at it again. Shannon Evans II had 21 points, Tra Holder posted 19 and Kodi Justice added 11.

The Sun Devils (12-0) shot 54 percent from the field and 46 percent from 3-point range on 26 attempts.

“Complete game throughout,” Hurley said after the game. “Thrilled for them and what they’ve done.”

The win highlighted the depth ASU’s scoring explosions have, and that’s with freshman forward Kimani Lawrence due back soon as well.

The seniors all shoot it well from deep and keep the pace high, but the bench provides some highlight-reel excitement of its own that can turn an entire game’s momentum in favor of ASU.

Freshman guard Remy Martin had 14 off the bench, having one of the plays of the season when he skied high for a rebound and led the break himself.

Martin possesses the unique trait of having his speed reach a gear higher than most, looking like the ball can barely keep up with how quick he is.

The pesky defender is at his best when he’s feeling himself, being a bit flashy at times, but in a good way that exudes maximum confidence. A freshman running with freedom like that suggests he has it from his coach and Hurley confirmed that after the game.

“I trust him,” Hurley said. “He’s been in big games already and delivered.”

“He plays the game with some swag and a flair.”

Martin added four rebounds and six assists.

The other player off the bench who qualifies as a game changer is big man De’Quon Lake, who is the bounciest player on the roster.

His shot-blocking swung the second half to a landslide ASU advantage. He finished with seven of them, as well as 12 points and nine rebounds.

The JUCO transfer is still figuring out where he fits in on both ends, but defensively he can change games with his rim protection.

“Now that he knows kind of what we do and he’s familiar in our system, he’s just using his natural instincts,” Hurley said after the game of Lake getting more comfortable. “He was such a presence.”

Offensively, all he needs to do is stay close to the basket as the guards penetrate and wait for either lobs, dump-offs or offensive rebounds.

ASU started out the game ahead 31-13 nearly 12 minutes into the first half, shooting 5-of-9 from 3-point range.

While the Tigers (5-8) would match or even outplay the Sun Devils during the closing stretch of the first half, ASU managed to do what all great teams do and limit the damage, still leading 47-31 heading into the second half.

That’s where Martin, Lake and the rest of the Sun Devils kept the energy too high and blew them out in the second half. They outscored Pacific 57-34.

Arizona State will need those two to even out a balanced, high-powered offensive attack against the Wildcats on Dec. 30 in Tucson.

“It’s a new season for everybody,” Hurley said of the matchup. “As a competitor, there’s nothing more that you want than to be in that building next Saturday so I hope everyone wants to go there.

“I hope every fan from Arizona and Arizona State is trying like heck to get in that building.”

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