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ASU Men’s Basketball: Sun Devils aim for best start in school history Sunday versus Vandy

(Photo: Tyler Rittenhouse/WCSN)

No. 5 Arizona State (9-0) hosts Vanderbilt (3-6) Sunday afternoon in its final non-conference game against a power five opponent before Pac-12 play.

The Sun Devils are one of five ranked teams that have yet to lose and are looking to start 10-0 for the first time in school history.

On the flip side, Vanderbilt enters Sunday with the worst record amongst power five teams only a year after it made the NCAA tournament as a ninth-seed.

The Commodores have had some tough defeats though, as three of those six losses were by five points or fewer. Their most notable narrow defeat came at the hands of then No. 10 USC, a 93-89 overtime loss nearly a month ago.

As a matter of fact, that 89-point performance by Vanderbilt stands as the most they’ve scored in a single game this season. The Commodores average 68.7 points per game, which ranks in the bottom 60 out of 350 Division I teams.

ASU cannot say the same, as the Sun Devils have only scored less than 90 points in two of their nine matchups to this point, never scoring less than 75.

The Sun Devils’ fourth-ranked scoring offense is led by senior guards Tra Holder and Shannon Evans II. Holder averages 21.2 points per game, tied for 30th in the nation, with Evans adding 19 points per game. Each one averages 5.2 assists per game as well.

Vanderbilt has its own pair of senior scorers in the backcourt too, although they don’t quite put up the same numbers. Seniors Riley LaChance and Matthew Fisher-Davis both average at least 12 points per game, although neither one averages even half as many assists per game as Evans or Holder.

Perhaps the most intriguing individual matchup in this contest is in the frontcourt- ASU’s freshman big man Romello White against Vandy’s senior forward Jeff Roberson. White averages 16 points and 9 rebounds per game- compared to Roberson’s 14.2 and 8.8- but Vandy’s big man has three more years of experience at the college level.

ASU will have an advantage in terms of depth though, as it has three players averaging at least nine points in addition to the aforementioned three stars (Kodi Justice- 14.1, Remy Martin- 9.9, De’Quon Lake- 9.2). Vandy doesn’t have anyone outside of its ‘big three’ scoring more than seven and a half points per game or averaging more than five and a half rebounds.

Sunday afternoon’s matchup will tip off at noon in Tempe, Arizona.

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