Sun Devils, Wildcats get men’s basketball season in gear with exhibition wins

Nov 2, 2021, 10:22 AM

The Arizona State Sun Devils and Arizona Wildcats got in one exhibition game each Monday night, both blowout wins against non-Division I opponents.

Here’s a quick rundown of the takeaways each team got in their ramp-up before the 2021-22 season is officially underway.

Arizona State tips off Tuesday, Nov. 9, against Portland for a 5 p.m. game on ESPN 620 AM and 98.7 FM HD-2. Arizona faces Northern Arizona the same night at 8:30 p.m.

Arizona State 108, St. Katherine 41

With arguably their best player, forward Marcus Bagley, held out with a minor knee injury, the Sun Devils held an overmatched team to 19% shooting from the field and 5 of 22 (23%) from the three-point stripe. As for ASU, it hit 48% of its buckets and 14 of 34 threes.

Bobby Hurley’s team compiled of several new faces outscored the opponent 46-10 in the paint; 22-3 off turnovers; 24-9 on second-chance opportunities; and 34-7 in transition.

Despite the relative unfamiliarity between the newer Sun Devils, ASU posted 26 assists on 39 made shots. Guards Marreon Jackson (five assists) and Luther Muhammad (five) along with forward Kimani Lawrence (four) accounted for 14 of those assists.

Starting lineup: G Marreon Jackson, G Luther Muhammad, G D.J. Horne, F Kimani Lawrence, F Alonzo Gaffney

Box scores stars

F Jalen Graham: The junior put up 10 points, five blocks and six rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench.

G Jay Heath: The Boston College transfer scored 18 points in 19 minutes, going 6-of-11 from the field and 5-of-6 from the foul stripe.

G D.J. Horne: A transfer from Illinois State, Horne went 4-of-5 from three.

Head coach Bobby Hurley’s assessment:

“I think it was a positive for us, just to play in front of some other people, and get a taste of what that will be like next week. Just bringing some guys back, that didn’t play in the scrimmage, so it was good for them to get more time in this game. Overall, I thought there were a fair number of positives. I want to thank Saint Katherine for coming in and playing the game. I think it’s good for us now, we have a whole week of practice, taking a look at some things, we gotta show up at the practice court. The guys have been working extremely hard, so I think we’ll have several good days leading to next Tuesday.”

Arizona 96, Eastern New Mexico 50

The Wildcats overmatched Eastern New Mexico with their size and length, outscoring the Division II team 35-13 off turnovers and 46-20 in the paint. Arizona’s pace under first-year coach Tommy Lloyd showed in transition (17 points), and even on defense, where Arizona allowed no buckets in transition.

With a full starting five of returning players, Georgia transfer Justin Kier flashed off the bench with four made threes, 14 points and three assists.

Starting lineup: G Kerr Kriisa, G Bennedict Mathurin, G Dalen Terry, F Azuolas Tubelis, C Christian Koloko

Box scores stars:

C Christian Koloko: The 7-foot junior put up 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks — he even capped his night with a top-of-arc three-point make.

G Bennedict Mathurin: The sophomore flashed his athleticism, scoring 18 points on 10 shots, while also adding six boards.

Head coach Tommy Lloyd’s assessment:

“We’re a movement-based team in transition and in the halfcourt. I thought in the halfcourt we got a little bit stagnant in stretches. We’ll get back to refocusing on ways we can move and things of that nature this week. I thought from St. Mary’s (closed scrimmage last week) to this we were a much better team defensively, not from effort but clean and not fouling as much. … I thought we made gains there.”

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