"Gangsta" performance powers Sun Devils past Cardinal

Michael Louzada

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley entered the Wells Fargo Arena on Wednesday dressed in an all black button down shirt with a purpose beyond simply looking good. Remy Martin admits that the shirt gets him playing as hard as he can not because of the color, but because Hurley calls it his "gangsta shirt."

The effect of the "gangsa shit" was palpable, as Martin and Rob Edwards each scored 16 points and powered the Sun Devils past the Stanford Cardinal 80-62.

"The guys played like gangsta's out there," Hurley said. "They played hard, took control of the game, they really battled and fought, so I enjoyed wearing my black shirt tonight." 

Speaking of gangsta, Arizona State is now 7-2 in Pac-12 play when Edwards scores over 10 points. 

"I'm just trying to get confidence for March," said Edwards. "Just trying to pick it up and help everyone else, we got to win games, and we know that's what we have to do." 

Stanford didn't come into the game at full strength. The Cardinal played without their star player, sophomore forward KZ Okpala, who was ruled out with an apparent ankle injury. They clearly missed his 17.5 points per game. Instead those points went to senior center Josh Sharma (17) and sophomore forward Oscar Da Silva (15).

Those two alone scored more than half of Stanford's point total. It didn't help that the Cardinal could not shoot from three against the Sun Devils. Da Silva shot 0-6 from the top of the key and the rest of the team shot 2-of-15.

The Sun Devils held the Cardinal to to 37.5 percent shooting in the game. This season, ASU held 11 opponents (six Pac-12) to under 40 percent shooting and is 10-1 in such games. 

"They were 2-20 (from three), so you can't ask for a whole lot better," Hurley said. "I think part of it was our pressure and what we were doing on some ball screens, we were really speeding them up some." 

Arizona State seem to have caught fire from the three-point line lately. In the past the Sun Devils hit 10 three-pointers in their win against Utah and they kept their hot streak against Stanford, hitting another six three-pointers in the first half.

One of those threes was from Martin, where he stepped into a deep three after looking off to pass. He then raised up and nailed it with 30 seconds left of the half and started to profusely yell at the crowd, getting the ASU faithful jumping and really showing the fight this team has.

"Everyone that was in the building tonight had great energy, great effort," Hurley said, "and we gave them something to cheer about." 

With the win, Arizona State moves up to 18-8, 9-5. It's probably too late to make a run for the Pac-12 regular season title, but a win over last place California (5-20, 0-13) on Senior Night Sunday would give the Sun Devils 10 conference wins and if they were to go 1-2 in their final three road games, they would have 20 wins.

That should be enough to punch a ticket into the NCAA Tournament at an at-large bid or at the very least, host the NIT.

photo credits: Evan Millstein/Arizona State Athletics