The first time Arizona State played Arizona this season, Jermaine Marshall didn’t suit up for the Sun Devils.
Bothered by a hip injury, Marshall watched in street clothes as the top-ranked Wildcats dismantled ASU 91-68 at McKale Center in mid-January.
Friday night in Tempe was a different story. Marshall not only suited up, but carried his team offensively in a 69-66 double-overtime win over the 2nd-ranked ‘Cats. The senior transfer from Penn State had eight of his season-high 29 points in the second overtime, including two huge three-pointers :36 apart that helped the Devils (19-6, 8-4 Pac-12) fight back from a brief four-point deficit.
With Arizona State trailing by one in the last minute of play, Marshall drove past Arizona guard Nick Johnson for what proved to be the game-winning layup with :14 left.
“The play was set up for a three, but (Johnson) played it close, he played it well,” Marshall said following the game. “He was playing great defense the whole game and fortunately I read him — he was up tight — and I was able to go by him.”
To say Marshall carried ASU is not an exaggeration. The 6-foot-4 guard had 21 of ASU’s first 39 points in the game. But then, partly due to Arizona’s excellent defense, the Devils’ offense bogged down midway through the second half. Marshall wouldn’t score for the next 19:24 of game action — a string broken by a three-pointer with 1:34 remaining in the second overtime.
“Jermaine is just incredible,” ASU head coach Herb Sendek said. “It just seems like the bigger the moment, regardless of what’s happened previously, he has an amazing capacity to make a big play and to be at his best when the game’s on the line.”
In his last five games, Marshall is averaging 22 points per game while connecting on .493 of his shots from the floor. He hit 4-of-8 three-point attempts against Arizona after going 0-for-7 from behind the arc in last Saturday’s win over Oregon.
The win, ASU’s first over a top-five team since 1998, also proves to be quite the résumé builder for the Sun Devils, who jumped from #37 to #28 in the college basketball RPI rankings.