Devil of a Comeback: ASU Stuns Arizona

For Bobby Hurley Saturday night didn’t start out as planned but all’s well that ends well as his Arizona State Sun Devils stormed back from a 22-point first half deficit to defeat the Arizona Wildcats 66-65 in Tempe.

Alonzo Verge’s driving lay up with 10.9 seconds helped the Devils (12-7, 2-3) pull off their biggest win of the year in front of 13,500 spirited fans inside Desert Financial Arena.

From the jump it appeared Arizona (13-6, 3-3) would mirror their 75-47 blowout win earlier this month in Tucson. The Cats, paced by freshmen Nico Mannion and Zeke Nnaji, surged ahead of cold-shooting ASU and, despite a sluggish end to the first half, still led 43-30 going into intermission.

However, the Sun Devils looked like a different team after the break, erasing the deficit midway through the second half thanks in part to Verge (13 points), senior Rob Edwards (15 points) and star guard Remy Martin who poured in a game-high 24).

“Our expectations are so high,” Martin said. “This is the middle of the season. We’re not satisfied. This is something, in my mind, we’re supposed to win. This is Arizona State now. This is not back in the day where Arizona would just come in and win. It’s not like that anymore.”

ASU’s defense tightened up in the second half holding their in-state rival to just 28 percent shooting and all got a much-needed boost from their home crowd.

“It was straight fire out there,” Hurley said of the environment.

Arizona had been 112-0 over the last 10 seasons when holding a double-digit lead at halftime. ASU’s 22-point comeback is tied for the second-most in Division I this season.