Arizona State wins Legends Classic, Arizona blows out Utah Tech
NEW YORK - Desmond Cambridge Jr. scored 20 points and Arizona State never trailed in blowing out No. 20 Michigan 87-62 on Thursday night to win the Legends Classic at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
It was the most lopsided championship game in the event’s 16-year history and Arizona State’s largest margin of victory against a ranked opponent.
“I thought it was an elite performance,” coach Bobby Hurley said. “These guys were just — man, they were making plays all over the court. I just kind of told them, I’m kind of in awe of them a little bit. Just kind of took a step back and was watching and just proud of how they competed and performed and made plays out there.”
DJ Horne added 19 points, Austin Nunez had 15 and Luther Muhammad scored 13 for the Sun Devils (4-1), who reached the championship game by overcoming an 11-point deficit in the final nine minutes of a 63-59 victory Wednesday night over VCU.
All-America center Hunter Dickinson, who was double- and triple-teamed down low by Arizona State, scored 14 points and Jett Howard had 12 for Michigan (3-1), which routed Pittsburgh 91-60 on Wednesday but shot just 34% against ASU.
“I was looking at a lot of things that we did last night in that win and I think it started with our defense,” Horne said. “So I wanted to start there in this game today, emphasizing that defense is going to get us this win.”
Seven players scored during a game-opening 29-10 run by Arizona State, which scored on nine straight possessions during the surge but shot even better in the second half (66.7%) than in the first half (56.3%).
“Some of the shots were uncontested — that was disappointing,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “But there were times when they made shots that were contested because of the fact (of) the confidence level that they had.”
Michigan got within 15 just once following Arizona State’s opening run. Dickinson put back a miss by Jett Howard to cut the lead to 50-34 early in the second half, but the momentum was short-lived as Howard was whistled for a foul 12 seconds later before Arizona State’s Warren Washington slammed home an alley-oop.
Cambridge, who finished with four 3-pointers, hit consecutive 3s — the second with Jett Howard’s hand in his face — before he cut into the lane, took a pass from Washington and dunked to make it 60-41.
A jumper by Horne with 10:55 left extended it to 64-43 for Arizona State, which led by 32 before Michigan emptied the bench with 4:12 remaining. The Sun Devils followed suit with 2:26 to play.
“Getting beat like that is pretty embarrassing,” Dickinson said. “You don’t want to have that kind of wakeup call, but it happened. So for us, I feel like it’ll level us and kind of bring us back down to Earth that obviously we can’t just roll a ball out there and play and expect to win.”
Michigan: Led by the 7-foot-1 Dickinson down low, the Wolverines made 62.3% of their 2-point attempts in their first three games. But with Dickinson mostly contained, Michigan shot just 43% from inside the arc Thursday. The Wolverines missed four consecutive shots at or near the basket during a single possession while down 22-10. They couldn’t make up for it from beyond the arc, finishing 4 of 22 (18%) on 3s.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils entered shooting just 29.4% from 3-point territory but thrived against Michigan’s zone defense, going 8 for 14 in the first half and 11 of 19 (58%) overall.
Michigan: Tries to rebound against Ohio at home Sunday night.
Arizona State: Will host Grambling on Tuesday night.
Utah Tech 77
TUCSON, Ariz. - Kerr Kriisa scored a career-high 24 points and No. 14 Arizona steamrolled a third straight opponent to open the season, setting a school record for free throw shooting Thursday night in a 104-77 victory over Utah Tech.
Coming off a triple-double in his previous game, Kriisa was 6 of 7 from 3-point range and 6 of 6 at the foul line while adding four rebounds and five assists. Last week against Southern, the junior point guard had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists for his second career triple-double, becoming the third player in school history to do it multiple times.
Arizona went 22 for 22 from the free throw line. The previous school mark was 18 of 18 against Stanford in 2005.
“I guess if you take some extra reps then they actually go in more often,” Kriisa said.
After shooting 33.6% from 3-point range last season, Kriisa is 11 of 17 in three games this season.
“I’m trying to be consistent with hunting my shot,” he said. “I’m up and down with my shot (selection). Some games I take two shots and other games I take eight shots. I’m trying to find a good balance, so it’s no surprise for my teammates if I take more shots.”
Azuolas Tubelis and Cedric Henderson Jr. each had 20 points for the Wildcats. Oumar Ballo added 16 points and 11 rebounds as Arizona (3-0) topped 100 points for the second time in three games. The Wildcats were 12 of 22 from beyond the arc and shot 63.6% for the game.
Henderson was 8 of 11 from the field after scoring only eight points in his first two games since transferring from Campbell.
Utah Tech (1-3) got 13 points from Noa Gonsalves and 12 each from Frank Staine and Dancell Leter but shot only 36.1%. The Trailblazers made 13 steals, converting 19 Arizona turnovers into 21 points.
Arizona led 49-21 at halftime despite 12 giveaways, shooting 62% from the floor and grabbing five more rebounds than Utah Tech had points. The Trailblazers surpassed their first-half scoring total less than nine minutes into the second but couldn’t get the deficit below 23 at 78-55 with 8:23 to go.
“I thought second half we kind of started to fight a little bit,” coach Jon Judkins said. “First half it looked like we were a little bit scared, and we can’t have that when you come to an arena like this. It’s packed and it’s loud, it’s gonna happen, but that’s why we play them and hopefully we learn from this and get better and watch film and try to do a better job.”
Arizona spotted Utah Tech a 4-0 lead before going on a 23-4 run in which the Wildcats made nine of 10 shots, including five 3s. Another 18-2 run made it 41-13 with 5:08 left in the first half.
The Trailblazers missed 18 of 19 shots during one stretch, shooting just 18.7% in the opening 20 minutes.
Utah Tech: The Trailblazers are in their third year of the four-year transition period after moving up from Division II, but this is the first season under their new school name. In July, the university officially changed its name from Dixie State.
Arizona: The Wildcats have won 22 consecutive games at McKale Center, tied for the third-longest active streak in Division I and their best since winning 49 in a row from 2013-16. The program record is 71 from 1987-92.
Utah Tech: Continues a four-game road trip at Idaho on Saturday. The Trailblazers aren’t home again until Dec. 9.
Arizona: Heads to Hawaii to play in the Maui Invitational, opening Monday against Cincinnati.