BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Few prognosticators were giving Arizona State much recognition heading into the start of the 2022-23 basketball season.
The Sun Devils proved them all wrong with a history-making performance that lifted Arizona State to the championship in the Legends Classic on Nov. 17 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Four players scored in double figures as ASU defeated No. 20 Michigan 87-62.
Arizona State improved to 4-1 on the season with the win, while the Wolverines, who rolled past Pittsburgh 91-60 in the first game of the tournament, fell to 3-1 on the year with the loss.
The 25-point margin of victory is the larger over a ranked opponent in ASU program history and the largest winning margin by a PAC 12 team over a ranked opponent since Nov. 25, 2007, when Southern Cal defeated No. 19 Southern Illinois 70-45.
The victory was also the 10th victory for ASU coach Bobby Hurley over a Top-25 foe. Three of those triumphs for Hurley have come in November tournaments.
“I have the ultimate respect for these guys,” said Hurley of his Sun Devils, who downed Virginia Commonwealth 63-59 the previous night to advance to the championship game against the Wolverines, just days after being stunned by Texas Southern 67-66 in a game played in Houston. “It would be easy to hang your head coming in here, but they showed great character to fight back the way that they did (Wednesday) night and to just be at the top of their game (Thursday).
“You’re always striving to play at your best and we got unbelievable performances from everyone,” Hurley added. “There were a lot of good things and a lot for us to look forward to as a basketball team. We got a glimpse of the potential we could have if we really continue to develop as a team.”
ASU led wire-to-wire scoring the first five points of the game. An 8-0 scoring binge by the Sun Devils a short time later increased the advantage to 15-5 just over five minutes into the game.
A stingy and swarming ASU defense also forced the Wolverines into numerous turnovers in the early going and causing Michigan to go on a 1-12 shooting performance from the floor midway through the first half as the Sun Devils continued to add to their lead.
Arizona State connected on five of its last six shots heading into halftime and led by as many as 23 points in the final minute of the first half.
Michigan made just nine of 30 field goal attempts in the first half, including just two of nine from behind the arc as the Sun Devils built a 46-28 lead at the intermission.
The pressure on both ends of the court continued by ASU in the second half. A 19-9 scoring burst in a span of 7:37 that began early in the second half proved to virtually end any hopes of a comeback by Michigan.
Arizona State held Michigan to its lowest production of the season in several categories with the win, including points (62), field goal percent (.340) and three-point percentage (.180) in the game.
Desmond Cambridge Jr. led the Sun Devils with 20 points in the historic win. DJ Horne (19), Austin Nunez (15) and Luther Muhammad (13) also reached double figures in scoring for the Sun Devils.
Arizona State connected on 60 percent (32-53) field goal shooting in the game and ended the game with six blocked shots, which increased the season total to 30 blocks through the first five games of the season.
Hunter Dickinson (14) and Jett Howard (12) were the only Wolverines to score in double digits in the game. Dickinson also paced the team in rebounds with five.
Consolation Championship: Michigan Transfers Help Rams Past Panthers
Brandon Johns Jr. and Zeb Jackson combined for 34 points as Virginia Commonwealth survived Pittsburgh 71-67 to claim the consolation champion of the 2022 Legends Classic on Nov. 17 at Barclays Center.
The win improved the Rams to 3-1 on the season, while Pittsburgh, which lost for the second straight night, fell to 1-3.
Johns, a transfer from Michigan, scored seven straight points for the Rams, including a traditional 3-point play with 1:35 remaining in the game to put his team in front 61-60 at the time. VCU also combined to connect on eight of 10 free throws in the closing 90 seconds to prevent the Panthers from coming away with the win.
The Rams also used an 11-0 scoring spree earlier in the second half. That burst was capped by a David Shriver 3-pointer and a driving layup by Jackson, another former Wolverine, that put VCU ahead 46-41 with 10:47 left in the game.
Johns finished with a game-high 18 points for the Rams with 11 of those points coming in the second half. Half of his points came from the foul line where he was nine of 11 on the night. He also tied a career-high with nine rebounds in the contest.
Jackson, meanwhile, tallied a career-high 16 points, 11 of which came after the intermission. He was four of eight from the floor and seven of eight from the free throw line in the game.
Josh Banks came off the bench to contribute nine points for the Rams, while Jamir Watkins and Jayden Nunn chipped in with eight points each.
Blake Hinson tallied 18 points to lead the Panthers in scoring.
Wednesday’s Results: Wolverines Impressive in Routing Pittsburgh 91-60
No. 20-ranked Michigan put on a shooting clinic in the second half to pull away from Pittsburgh on the way to a dominating 91-60 win over Pittsburgh in the first game of the 2022 Legends Classic at Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn.
The Wolverines held a slim 38-32 lead at halftime, but proved to be nearly unstoppable in the second half as Michigan shot 72 percent (18-25) from the floor and 78 percent (7-9) from behind the arc on the way to outscoring the Panthers 58-23 over the final 20 minutes of the game to post their third straight win to start the season.
Jett Howard, a freshman, got Michigan rolling in the pivotal second half after being fouled on a successful 3-point attempt and adding the free throw for his team’s first four points of the second half. Terrance Williams added five points as part of a 7-0 run that pushed the Michigan advantage to 13 points with 15 minutes left in the game.
Kobe Bufkin and Hunter Dickinson, along with Joey Baker, all helped spark the Wolverines, who outscored the Panthers 31-14 over the first 10 minutes of the half to take command of the game by leading 69-46.
They would expand the advantage to as many as 32 points later in the half before settling on the 31-point triumph.
The Panthers were strong in the early on the strength of connecting on three of their first four attempts from behind the arc. But they were never able to pull away from the Wolverines, who took their first lead of the game on a layup from Dickinson with 11 minutes left in the opening half.
The freshmen trio of Howard, Dug McDaniel and Tarris Reed Jr. combined for 10 straight points to push the Michigan lead to five points. A 3-pointer from Baker sparked a 6-0 spurt that put the Wolverines in front 38-28 with three minutes left in the half.
Michigan missed its final six field goal attempts to close the half, but still led 38-32 at the break.
Howard, who was saddled with foul trouble in the second half, finished with a game-high 17 points in helping the Wolverines to the triumph. He was joined in double figures by Bufkin and Baker, who both tallied 14 points, and Dickinson, who chipped in with 11 points.
Dickinson also grabbed seven rebounds in the game to become the 46th player in program history to reach 500 rebounds in a career. After surpassing the 1,000-point plateau in a career in this year’s season opener against Purdue Fort Wayne, Dickinson is not the 31 member of the school’s 1,000/500 club.
Williams shared team-high rebounds with Dickinson and also tallied seven points in the win over the Panthers.
Pittsburgh was paced by Jamarius Burton’s 14 points while Blake Hinson tallied 13 points and a team-high six rebounds in the contest. Greg Elliott also reached double figures with 12 points for the Panthers.
ASU Rallies to Slip Past Rams
Arizona State, which trailed 35-28 after the first 20 minutes of the game, utilized a 35-24 scoring run in the second half to emerge with a 63-59 win over VCU in the second game of the 2022 Legends Classic on Nov. 16 at Barclays Center.
VCU, which allowed ASU to close to within 37-35 early in the second half, managed to hold off the Sun Devils long enough to build a double-digit lead at 49-39 with 9:39 remaining in the game.
But the advantage did not last long.
Frankie Collins’ fade-away jumper just 21 seconds later and added a baseline dunk on the next possession to pull ASU to within 52-43.
An 8-0 run by the Sun Devils in a span of 1:12 tied the game at 56-56 on an Austin Nunez 3-pointer. VCU was held without a basket for 3:38 during the run to help ASU pull back into contention.
Brennan’s layup with 2:51 gave ASU its first lead since the 5:41 mark of the opening half.
ASU, which trailed by 11 points with 8:58 left to play, held the Rams without a field goal over the remainder of the game and finished off the game on a 22-7 scoring run.
“We got three charges late in the game, which is something that all coaches love and look for,” ASU coach Bobby Hurley said after the game. “If you do those little things, it all adds up to playing the type of defense that you want to play.”
Desmond Cambridge connected on a falling layup with 68 seconds remaining in the game to put ASU in front for good at 61-59.
Collins led all scorers in the game with 15 points, including nine straight points in the pivotal second half as ASU came up big on both ends of the floor.
DJ Horne added 12 points in the winning effort, while Cambridge and Nunez both chipped in with 10 points.
A native of Bismarck, N.D., Ray is a graduate of North Dakota State University where he began studying athletic training and served as a student trainer for several Bison teams including swimming, wrestling and baseball and was a trainer at the 1979 NCAA national track and field championship meet at the University of Illinois. Ray later worked in the sports information office at NDSU. Following his graduation from NDSU he spent five years in the sports information office at Missouri Western State University and one year in the sports information at Georgia Tech. He has nearly 40 years of writing experience as a sports editor at several newspapers and has received numerous awards for his writing over the years. A noted sports historian, Ray is currently an assistant editor at Amateur Wrestling News.