While most of the attention in Brooklyn was on the first semifinal of the FanDuel Legends Classic that featured two potential NBA lottery picks, the story of the night might be the Arizona State Sun Devils’ performance in the second semifinal.
Playing against a legitimate threat out of the ACC in North Carolina State, the Sun Devils had their best performance of the season thus far in a 79-76 win.
Sophomore point guard Tra Holder had a career-high 22 points, shooting 53 percent from the field and dishing out four assists.
Holder had it going inside and outside. He transitioned from converting difficult shots with contact at the rim to taking and making clutch perimeter shots.
The sophomore’s three-pointer with 58 seconds left put the Sun Devils up five and in firm control of the game. Holder showed no fear of playing on a big stage in the Barclays Center.
While Holder was terrific, the performance of the night has to go to forward Savon Goodman. The bouncy junior was everywhere on the floor, scoring a career-high 21 points and grabbing a career-high 16 rebounds.
Goodman’s a big-play threat at virtually any moment and proved that with a monster put-back slam in the first half.
Like Holder, he played a huge part in closing out the game late in the second half. Goodman had a pass to Holder that led to free throws, finished a pass from Holder to put the Sun Devils back in the lead, and had another go-ahead bucket that led to Holder’s decisive three-pointer.
Goodman had seven offensive rebounds and was a consistent source of energy throughout the game, something a relatively inexperienced Pac-12 team desperately needs.
As a team, the Sun Devils showed their effort on the glass, working their tails off to a +12 total rebounding margin and 18 offensive rebounds.
Bobby Hurley’s team moves onto the finals of the FanDuel Legends Classic to play Marquette, a tough Big East team with a big-time player in Henry Ellenson. It would be foolish to count out the Sun Devils after Monday night however, as they appear to be a team willing to out-work others and look committed to their coach’s style.
The game takes place on Tuesday at 6 p.m., with television coverage on ESPN2.