No. 18 Arizona State upset No. 1 Kansas by a score of 80-76 late Saturday night. It was the first time the Sun Devils defeated a No. 1 team in Tempe in program history.
Here are three reasons why Arizona State was able to pull it off.
ASU was incredibly balanced offensively
The Sun Devils' offense exploded in the second half, but it wasn't a one-man show. Several Arizona State players proved they were dangerous on Saturday night.
Five Sun Devils scored in double figures on the evening: Zylan Cheatham, Romello White, Remy Martin, Luguentz Dort and Rob Edwards. Two more players had at least seven points.
Arizona State's final box score looked a whole lot different than Kansas', as we'll touch on soon. The Jayhawks' defense had no answers for the Sun Devils' whirring, diverse drive-and-kick attack.
DOWN GOES NO. 1!— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) December 23, 2018
No. 18 Arizona State hands No. 1 Kansas its first loss of the season and picks up the program’s first ever win over a No. 1 at home! pic.twitter.com/DBOEq2x2rW
The Sun Devils let Dedric Lawson get his, but locked up everyone else
Lawson scored 30 points and pulled down 14 rebounds for Kansas. No other Jayhawk scored more than 14 points, and that was LaGerald Vick, who was an inefficient 5-for-16 from the field. Marcus Garrett, Quentin Grimes and Charlie Moore all struggled.
Part of that was luck, but some of it was by design from Arizona State. It rarely sent help Lawson's way, and he's generally a great passer who creates shots for his teammates. Sun Devil defenders stayed home on shooters and dared Lawson to beat them by himself. He almost did it, but Arizona State's strategy paid off in the end.
Arizona State's guards got anywhere they wanted to in the second half
Arizona State's offense is a whole lot of fun when it's rolling. The Sun Devils have a bunch of quick guards who can handle the ball well and create shots for themselves and others. ASU scored 49 points in the second half on Saturday night; Kansas' perimeter defenders had a ton of trouble staying in front of them.
What a scene!— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) December 23, 2018
No. 18 Arizona State knocks off a No. 1 opponent for the first time since 1981! pic.twitter.com/YvEtU3CLFS
Arizona State beat Kansas last year, too, and it was a similar story. Martin and Dort, two of the Sun Devils' top guards, combined for nine assists.
What a night it was for Bob Hurley and company.