Arizona State downs Princeton 67-65 behind Martin, Thomas
PRINCETON, N.J. - Khalid Thomas scored a 3-pointer from the corner with 3.2 seconds left to lift Arizona State to a 67-65 win over Princeton on Tuesday.
Remy Martin poured in a career-high 33 points to lead Arizona State and Thomas added 11.
“Obviously it was a big shot, a big play, but I was ready for it, though,” said Thomas, who came off the bench to connect on 4 of 5 shots. “The play was designed to get whatever was open. If the drive (by Martin) was open take it. If the roll was open take it.
“It wasn’t really set for me. It just happened.”
It was Martin’s fourth 20-plus scoring game of the season for the Sun Devils (4-2). He scored 23 points in the second half when the Sun Devils outscored Princeton 41-34.
Martin played 40 minutes, connecting on 13 of 23 shots with three assists and two steals.
His jumper with 3:24 left gave Arizona State a 61-60 edge. His assist to a wide-open Thomas pushed the lead to 64-60, before the Tigers scored five straight points for a 65-64 lead with 20 seconds left.
“After the Virginia game (a 48-45 loss on Sunday), I just wanted to get a win for us,” Martin said, “I had to pick it up in the second half, but I had help from my teammates. I trusted Khalid (Thomas) with all my might and he hit it.”
Without an Arizona State starter over 6-8, Princeton effectively pounded the ball inside. Richmond Aririguzoh led Princeton (0-5) with 16 points and 18 rebounds. The Tigers held a 35-28 rebound advantage over the Sun Devils.
“It was important for us (Princeton) to out-rebound them,” said Aririguzoh. “We hadn’t done that in any of our four previous games. We made it close, they hit a big shot. I don’t really like silver linings, but I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
The Sun Devils used a 9-0 run to go ahead 46-39 with 13:18 to play.
Arizona State took its first lead, 37-36, with 16:25 left to play on a 3-pointer from Elias Valtonen, then went on a 9-3 run for a 46-39 edge.
The Sun Devils victory represented a homecoming of sorts for their coach Bobby Hurley, who was a New Jersey prep star at national power St. Anthony (Jersey City), coached by his father, Bob Hurley. It was also a slight distraction for the younger Hurley, with his Hall of Fame father sitting directly across from the Arizona State bench,
“Naturally I looked and saw where he was sitting,” said Bobby Hurley, who starred at Duke. “Knowing he was there, you kind of want to do well. It’s a lot to live up to, but you want him to feel good about what you’re doing.
“I really treasured my career playing basketball in New Jersey. So I wanted to bring a team in here that was close to the standards I had when I played.”
Arizona State trailed at halftime on Tuesday for the fourth time this season. Without a proven secondary scorer behind guard Remy Martin, the Sun Devils will need to get out to a quicker start, especially once the Pac-12 season starts.
Princeton: Senior center Richmond Aririguzoh continues to develop. He bulked up during the summer and has improved his touch around the basket. He dominated the paint against Arizona State with his first double-double of the season.
Arizona State continues its three-game road trip on Dec. 3 when it plays at the University of San Francisco. The Sun Devils open the season with five of their first seven games away from Tempe.
Princeton is at Bucknell on Saturday.
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