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Martin, House electric for Arizona State in win over Rider

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

TEMPE, ARIZ. — In a meeting between the two schools for the first time in history on the hardwood, Rider University was looking to stun the Arizona State Sun Devils on Sunday at Desert Financial Arena.

The Sun Devils looked like they might be in trouble early after Rider went on a 10-0 run after ASU scored the first points of the game, but following a seemingly slow start, ASU locked in on offense, topping the Broncs 92-55 in Tempe.

“There’s a lot to be happy about with how we played,” head coach Bobby Hurley told reporters after the game.

Arizona State outscored Rider 43-24 in the first half. They outshot them 43% to 37% from beyond the arc in that half, with most of that effort coming from junior guard Remy Martin.

Martin led the Sun Devil offense 20 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists, but he wasn’t the only guard to see the action against the Broncs. Freshman guard Jaelen House also boosted 20 points from the bench. Martin said a player like House is critical to their offense.

“He’s just a good teammate that you want on your side. On the ball, he’s going to create havoc and change the speed of the defense.” Martin said.

Martin and House came together for 21 of the team’s first-half points and accounted for 43 of the total.

“Remy was super efficient tonight and really just made plays, playing at a good speed and tempo,” Hurley said. “Jaelen was just electric. Those guys are a pretty strong combination.”

Hurley said House’s impact was evident. Coming into Sunday’s game, House had played 48 minutes through the first two games and averaged 10.5 points per game, the third-highest behind Edwards and Martin.

Off the bench, where 43 of ASU’s points came from, House played just over 20 minutes. His plus-minus was +34, which is a stat that Hurley said he doesn’t like to get into, but it speaks for itself.

“I know not only as a coach, but as a former player and point guard, that it’s not fun when somebody is that quick with their footwork that can turn you that frequently and make it very difficult to get the ball past half court,” Hurley said.

The combination of Martin and House is similar to two seasons ago when the Sun Devils dominated with Kodi Justice and Tra Holder.

Aside from Martin and House, ASU’s success laid in their turnovers. They forced 29 turnovers during the game, the most for the team in a game since 2003.

“It just enables you the ability to really rattle your opponent, make it difficult for them to run offense even when they don’t turn it over or have a live ball turnover. You take away eight to 10 seconds off the shot clock which forces them to get into offense on a shorter clock.

“It energized us, we were able to score in bunches when we got those live-ball turnovers.”

Even though the score made it look like an easy one, the defense was what boosted the Sun Devils to the win.

“Defense is more important because if you’re not having a good night offensively, you can always have a good night defensively,” House said.

Redshirt-junior forward Romello White was a large part of the defense, grabbing seven rebounds, including four offensively.

Moving forward, Hurley said they’re still looking to find consistency as a team. With so many players, it’s difficult to get enough guys into the rotation, something that will come in time.

They’ll have a chance to do that as they hit the road for the next two weeks, starting Saturday in Connecticut where they’ll play St. John’s.

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