Arizona State senior point guard Remy Martin scored 26 points to help the No. 18 Sun Devils hold off Rhode Island 94-88 on Wednesday night at the 2K Empire Sports Classic in Uncasville, Conn.
Martin, a preseason All-American, also had six rebounds and five assists in the foul-plagued season-opener for both teams.
Arizona State, which squandered a 16-point first-half lead, trailed 72-69 with 11:18 to go. The game stayed within one possession until ASU's Marcus Bagley made a free throw with 1:08 to go for a 92-88 lead. Holland Woods made a steal and layup in the final minute to finish the scoring.
The Sun Devils advanced to Thursday's title game of the four-team tournament, playing the winner of the Villanova-Boston College matchup played later Wednesday. The Rams will play the loser in the consolation.
Wednesday's matchup wasn't set until Monday after Baylor - Arizona State's original opponent -- withdrew because of COVID-19 issues. The game was often sloppy, with the teams combining to commit 55 fouls and 29 turnovers.
Rhode Island junior forward Antwan Walker scored a career-high 19 points, as did guard Jeremy Sheppard, making his URI debut after stops at Eastern Carolina and junior college. Walker scored 16 points in the second half.
Rhode Island's top player, point guard Fatts Russell, picked up his fourth foul late in the first half but was able to stay in the game until fouling out with 5:52 left. He had 12 points and six assists.
Bagley, a four-star freshman, had 16 points and seven rebounds, making 10 of 14 from the free throw line. He was in the starting lineup, as was five-star freshman Josh Christopher, who scored 11. Woods and Taeshon Cherry also put in 11 points for ASU.
Arizona State led by 16 points multiple times in the first half, including at 40-24 with 5:56 left. But the Sun Devils failed to pull away, missing their final six shots of the half. Four Rams had at least three fouls at halftime, leading to Arizona State shooting 28 free throw attempts, making 20.
--Field Level Media