No. 16 Arizona State holds off struggling Cal
BERKELEY, Calif. — Tra Holder and Remy Martin scored 13 points apiece, and No. 16 Arizona State overcame a slow start to beat California 81-73 on Saturday night.
Arizona State (15-4, 3-4 Pac-12), which began the season 12-0 to reach No. 3 in the AP Top 25, won by more than three points for the first time in conference play. Mickey Mitchell added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Sun Devils.
The Sun Devils scored just two points in the opening 5 1/2 minutes, missing seven of their first eight shots. They led by as many as 16 points late in the first half and then regained control late after Cal got within 65-60 with just under 6 minutes left.
Cal (7-13, 1-6) lost its sixth straight. Senior Marcus Lee equaled his career high with 23 points, despite going 3 for 10 from the free-throw line, and Darius McNeil scored 16.
Arizona State: Holder was the most productive player in the Pac-12 through 14 games, averaging 22.2 points, 4.3 assists and 1.9 steals while shooting 44 percent from 3-point range. Over the previous four games entering Saturday, those numbers fell to 9.5 points, 3.3 assists, 0.5 steals and 21 percent from deep.
Cal: Not even playing on their home court has helped the struggling Bears. They are now 4-8 at Haas Pavilion, with seven defeats in their past eight games, six of them by double digits.
Even with the victory, Arizona State figures to drop a few spots in the AP Top 25 after losing for the fourth time in six games Wednesday at Stanford.
Fans took home Jason Kidd bobblehead dolls, commemorating his performance in the Bears' 1993 NCAA tournament upset of two-time defending national champion Duke. Kidd had 11 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds and four steals against Bobby Hurley, now the coach at Arizona State, who scored a career-best 32 points.
Arizona State: Home vs. Utah on Thursday.
Cal: Visits UCLA on Thursday.