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No. 3 Villanova too much for No. 18 ASU in tournament championship loss

Villanova's Collin Gillespie goes up for a shot during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Arizona State, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

The No. 18 Arizona State Sun Devils couldn’t find their footing offensively Thursday night in a loss to the No. 3 Villanova Wildcats in the 2K Empire Classic Championship Game.

After pacing the team to a victory with 26 points Wednesday night against Rhode Island, Arizona State senior guard Remy Martin was held to only five points on two of eight shooting.

He wasn’t alone as five of the eight Sun Devils scored in single digits.

Villanova, meanwhile, had four players score in double digits with Jeremiah Robinson-Earl leading the Wildcats with 28 points.

The Wildcats also took advantage of extra chances, outrebounding Arizona State on the offensive floor 11-4 and 43-27 overall.

While the Sun Devils offensive unit struggled, Alonzo Verge Jr. and freshman Josh Christopher had standout performances.

Christopher in his second game at Arizona State led the Sun Devils with 28 points.

“I think he showed you a glimpse of what he’s capable of,” ASU coach Bobby Hurley said. “It was just a heck of a performance by a freshman, playing against one of the best teams in the country.”

The highly-anticipated freshman scored 11 points, going five for six at the free-throw line, in the win Wednesday night.

He exceeded that number in the first ten minutes of play on Thursday.

Verge Jr., meanwhile, scored 22 points after only scoring 8 points on Wednesday.

After securing second place at the 2K Empire Classic to start the season, the Sun Devils head home to face the Houston Baptist Huskies on Sunday at 2 p.m.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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