Sun Devils Survive In Long-Awaited Cross-Town Showdown

AP Photo/Ralph Freso

The long-awaited GCU and ASU basketball clash didn’t disappoint in the cross-town showdown on Sunday afternoon. Arizona State narrowly avoided the big upset with a Remy Martin game-winning three in the final seconds at GCU Arena to close out a 71-70 win. 

Martin carried the Sun Devils to a win, putting up 31 points, with 23 of those coming in the second half. He put up the stat line and led his team after being called out by head coach Bobby Hurley in Thursday’s loss against San Diego State. 

“He kind of had a blank look on him and didn’t really have that fire and that energy that I have kind of been used to seeing from Remy,” said Hurley of Martin’s 9-point performance against the Aztecs. “Overall, he has to play better in these games like this where he’s had a history of playing extremely well.”

Sure enough, Martin answered the call on Sunday.

A lot of credit should go to GCU as well. Former Shadow Mountain guard Jovan Blacksher Jr. was stellar in the Lopes nail-biting loss, putting up 21 points and five assists in 39 minutes played. He narrowly missed a buzzer-beater in the waning seconds that went down and out. 

One of the local storylines going into this game wasn’t only the GCU and ASU matchup, but Blacksher going up against his former Shadow Mountain teammate in Jaelen House. The two matched up against each other multiple times throughout the game. 

GCU center Alessandro Lever also dropped in 18 points, including a go-ahead three with 30 seconds left, to help out his teammate in the backcourt. Following the victory, ASU edges to 4-2, while Bryce Drew’s squad suffers its first loss of the season at 4-1.

Although the Lopes came up short, they proved that they can hang with their Pac-12 adversary just down the street. Next year’s rematch at Desert Financial Arena has the makings of a good sequel already.