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Who’s got next? ASU working through inconsistent 3rd scoring option

Arizona State's Rob Edwards (2) is congratulated by teammates after Arizona State defeated Oregon State 82-76 in an NCAA college basketball game in Corvallis, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

TEMPE, Ariz. — The roulette wheel continues to turn for the Arizona State Sun Devils offense.

One game, junior guard Remy Martin is leading the charge. The next it’s junior forward Romello White. The two are easy bets to top the team’s statsheet this season, landing in the top three among ASU scorers in 14 and 10 games, respectively.

Outside of the duo, however, there hasn’t been that consistent third option on the court. Only guards Alonzo Verge Jr. and Rob Edwards have seen seven and eight games of being one of the top three bucket-getters. Beyond that, the number drops drastically.

But the jersey number doesn’t matter much to ASU head coach Bobby Hurley. The numbers on the scoreboard do.

“Verge had a good stretch where he clipped off like five or six games where he was maybe being that third guy,” Hurley said after practice Tuesday. “I have no issues with it being a revolving situation as long as there is that guy. I may not know game to game specifically until it’s unfolding who that guy is but that’s why I’m doing this job.

“It’s not easy all the time to know when you can’t predict everything. But it is comforting to know that you kinda have two dependable guys, one on the perimeter and one on the inside that you know you can get some scoring out of.”

A spin at the scoring wheel isn’t always a guaranteed win, which was most evident in the team’s 78-69 loss Saturday to the No. 9 Oregon Ducks. Two players managed to score in double figures, with Martin leading the way with 29 points and Edwards chipping in 11.

The Sun Devils finished their Oregon road trip 1-1, taking home a win over Oregon State before the Oregon loss, moving to 10-6 on the season and 1-2 in Pac-12 play.

One of the most encouraging signs on the road trip for the Sun Devils was the reemergence of Edwards.

After making an immediate impact this season, acting as one of the top scorers on the team for four of the first five contests, Edwards’ consistency began to wane, leading to a five-game slump and a move out of the starting lineup. The senior guard made the most of his time on the court in Oregon, putting up 29 points over two games, including 18 against OSU. He had scored just 24 points in his prior six outings.

“He was long overdue to play that way on offense, and I’m hopeful I’m getting the right signs that he’s carrying over what he did in that game to what he looks like right now in practice,” Hurley said.

It’s definitely a positive for Hurley and Co. to see Edwards regaining his stroke — Edwards went 7 of 13 from three on the Oregon trip — especially with one of the team’s top scorers going through his own bout of a difficult stretch.

After scoring double-digit totals in eight of his first nine games of the season, White has run into a bit of a rough patch as he’s worked to get back to 100% from an ankle injury. Luckily for ASU, the big man has improved game by game since injuring himself against Texas Southern in December, a big plus with a Colorado team (13-3; 2-1) that just put up 91 points next up on the docket.

“I have a good feeling that were going to get something with Romello, too,” Hurley said. “I know I can kinda pencil him in for 8-10 rebounds and six points I guess would be his bottom.”

The No. 20 Buffaloes and Sun Devils are set to tip off 7 p.m. Thursday at Desert Financial Arena. Colorado and ASU met in the season opener this year, with the Buffaloes taking the win in China.

Catch all the action live on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

FREE THROWS

– Hurley on the ASU women’s team after its dominant showing against the Oregon schools:

“I just hope they didn’t take any of the magic out of the building. I hoped they saved us a little bit for this week, but really proud to see that. Happy for [coach] Charli [Turner Thorne], and the ladies work extremely hard and it just doesn’t get any better than that, really. I don’t see how you could win two more impressive games against top-tier opponents so it was great to see.”


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