White's 25 leads Arizona State past Northern Arizona 97-62
By JOSE M. ROMERO
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The results of Romello White's first two college basketball games have surprised even him.
The redshirt freshman forward scored 16 of his game-high 25 points in the first half, and Arizona State coasted to a 97-62 win over Northern Arizona Friday night.
White followed up a 16-point, 15-rebound effort in his Sun Devils debut on Tuesday with another strong performance, making 10 of 12 shots, and guard Shannon Evans II added 20 points and eight assists.
"I felt like I was going to be a little rusty when I got back, but I surprised myself," said White, who sat out last season to improve his academics. "So I'm just going to keep going, keep doing it."
Arizona State (3-0) led by as many as 27 points in the first half, doubling up the Lumberjacks 54-27 at halftime thanks to 59 percent field-goal shooting (20 of 34) and 13 NAU turnovers.
The Sun Devils were too much for the Lumberjacks inside, with White and De'Quon Lake muscling their way to high-percentage shots at or near the rim. Arizona State had a 42-24 advantage in points in the paint. Lake added 17 points and 12 rebounds.
"After we got a couple of buckets inside, we felt like we should just keep going to it until we started missing or something," White said. "My point guard kept feeding us, and we just kept going to work."
The win for Arizona State marked the third game this season with 90 or more points scored. The Sun Devils accomplished that feat for the first time since Jan. 30-Feb. 6, 1993.
"We're just very much in attack mode at both ends," Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. "Guys have talent. We can trust what we have around the basket to throw it inside."
Lake dunked three times, twice off offensive rebounds, and Kodi Justice hit three 3s on three consecutive possessions in the first half as Arizona State built a 31-10 lead at the 9:24 mark.
Northern Arizona cut the lead to 12, 32-20, on steal and dunk by guard Karl Harris, but ASU responded with a 22-7 run to close out the half.
NAU made just 8 of 32 shots in the first half. The Sun Devils' lead reached 36 with 12:15 to play in the game, 72-36, after back-to-back 3s from Evans and Tra Holder.
Harris led the Lumberjacks (0-3) with 15 points and JoJo Anderson added 11.
The two in-state rivals met for the 138th time in the history of the series, with Arizona State now holding a 77-61 advantage.
"They jumped on us right away and we had a lot of turnovers, especially early," Northern Arizona coach Jack Murphy said. "I thought once we settled down and settled into the game we were able to do some things to get better as a team."
Northern Arizona: The Lumberjacks have a nonconference schedule that has them playing 10 of 13 games on the road. They are currently in the midst of five straight away from home, and figure to be without guard Malcolm Allen for some time. Allen, a transfer from Stanford, suffered a foot injury in Friday's game.
Arizona State: The fourth game of the season has tripped up the Sun Devils in two of the past three seasons, but this season's isn't likely to, and Arizona State has a very good shot at a 4-0 mark going into its first road trip of the season over the Thanksgiving holiday. The Sun Devils, as they looked after three games, will be a threat to future opponents with their uptempo style and athletic big men.
A "T" FOR HURLEY
Hurley was issued a technical foul for, it seemed, emphatically shouting for a full timeout during a stoppage in play late in the game. A heated discussion with an official followed, which provided the most excitement of the second half.
"I'll just figure out, through my own research and evaluation of the interpretations of the rules, if I actually deserved that," Hurley said.
HOLDER AT 100
Holder played in his 100th career game at Arizona State. The senior finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and six assists, moving into 20th place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,269 points.
The Sun Devils started fast and were in control at the outset of the game, as seen when Justice turned, raised his arms and jogged back up the court as Evans lined up a 3-pointer with 15:31 to go in the first half. Justice, apparently confident Evans would hit the shot, guessed correctly and didn't even watch the ball in flight that would give ASU a 15-3 lead.
Northern Arizona: At Kansas State Monday night.
Arizona State: Hosts UC Irvine on Sunday afternoon.
Updated November 17, 2017