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Men’s Basketball: Holder’s Career Night Propels Devils To Win Over UC Irvine

Tra Holder walked off the floor Sunday afternoon in Tempe with his right hand in the air, signaling for the crowd to make noise. What Holder had just done Sunday at Wells Fargo Arena was not a typical Sunday afternoon stroll, it was special.
“It was one of the better performances that I’ve seen from a player that I’ve coached,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said.
Holder scored a career-high 35 points Sunday in Arizona State’s (4-0) 99-78 win over UC Irvine (2-3). The point total was impressive, but it was the efficiency that Holder also had that truly made the performance special. Holder went 13-15 from the floor including making six of seven three-point attempts.
“Right after the game I touched Tra’s hand, I was thinking about getting some shots up later on my own at the gym and I wanted to make them so I figured I’d go shake his hand and maybe that’ll carry over,” Hurley said.
On this day, the box score really could tell the whole story. Holder’s shooting percentage is almost unheard of for any player, especially a guard.
“I knew one day I would have a game where I couldn’t miss,” Holder said. Despite the fantastic performance, Holder noted how things can change quickly and to not get too high or too low.
Arizona State continued to light up the scoreboard as the Devils eclipsed 90 points for the fourth straight game. That is the first time ASU has accomplished that feat since 1975. The Maroon and Gold are quickly meshing together and proving to be extremely difficult to defend.
Despite Holder’s career-high night, his teammates did their fair share of work as well. Fellow senior guard Shannon Evans II tallied home 22 points, Kodi Justice had 18 points and freshman big man Romello White continued to impress as he recorded another double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds.
From the jump, the Devils were on the attack, as they used their aggressive defense and surging three-point shooting to pull out to a double-digit lead in the first half, something they wouldn’t give back.
The Sun Devils forced 19 turnovers and shot a hot 14-23 from beyond the arc, continuing their tenacious style of play that fans are becoming accustomed to.
ASU now sits at 4-0 on the season but will face their biggest test to date when they play the Kansas State Wildcats on Thursday in Las Vegas. The Wildcats also just got done beating UC Irvine by almost the exact same margin, 71-49. After the game, Hurley talked about what the Devils need to improve on in order to continue their hot start to the season.
“We gotta rebound, the Big 12 is a rebounding conference with big physical guys,” Hurley said.
Sure, rebounding and free throws need to improve but it even seems like the intense, hard-nosed head coach of Arizona State can feel that this year’s team may be something special.

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