(Photo: Josh Orcutt/WCSN)
Arizona State sophomore guard Tra Holder and junior forward Savon Goodman led the way for the Sun Devils as ASU pulled out a gritty 79-76 win over North Carolina State. Holder controlled the game with his excellent decision-making skills, coming around screens and perfectly assessing the zone that NC State played. Holder finished with a career-high 22 points and added four assists.
Goodman did all of the dirty work for the Devils. Goodman had a monster double-double with 21 points and 16 rebounds. One of the keys for ASU coming into the game was controlling the boards. In its wins, ASU outrebounded the opposing teams, and in the Sun Devils’ lone loss, they got outrebounded. Goodman did his job down low and was the key to the victory for ASU
Both teams played fairly evenly in the first half with no real edge between the two. Neither team led by more than 10 and Arizona State carried a slim 40-38 lead into the half.
In the second half, Arizona State controlled the game and led by double-digits most of the half. The Wolfpack did not let them run away with it though and fought back to tie the game at 73 with under two minutes. A contested layup by Goodman and a three-pointer by Holder with 1:06 left put ASU up 78-73 and sealed the game.
Player(s) of the Game: Tra Holder and Savon Goodman
Holder and Goodman dominated as a one-two punch tonight. The duo absolutely ruled the game and made the plays down the stretch to close the game out. With the score tied at 73 under two minutes, Goodman and Holder made the plays in the clutch to give the Sun Devils the win. Both played what was potentially the best basketball of their careers tonight to take down an ACC power.
Stat of the night: 16 rebounds for Savon Goodman
It is difficult to appreciate how tough it is to get 16 rebounds. For comparison, NC State as a team only grabbed 35 rebounds. Goodman had almost half of that. Crashing the boards also made it easier for him to score or kick the ball out for open three-pointers after rebounds. The way that Goodman secured the boards for ASU is a big positive for them looking forward. If Goodman can continue to control the glass like that, the Sun Devils will be hard to beat.
Biggest Concern: Controlling Cat
The one major weakness for the Sun Devils is that they could not control NC State guard Anthony “Cat” Barber. Barber was the kryptonite for the Sun Devils, filling up the stat line to the tune of 22 points, eight assists, and six rebounds. Barber got wherever he wanted to go on the court and ultimately almost spoiled the game for ASU. When the Sun Devils needed stops down the stretch they got them, but their defense against Barber was definitely spotty.
The Sun Devils will take on Marquette in the Legends Classic championship game on Tuesday night. Marquette defeated No. 23 LSU in a thrilling 81-80 finish in their last game. The game will tip at 6 p.m. (MT).