TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Romello White admits he was talking a little more trash than normal on Saturday night. The Arizona State forward is from Georgia, so he knew four or five of the opposing Bulldogs and the rhetoric escalated enough that the referees stepped in to cool things down a few times.
White assured the refs that the talking was all in fun. He wasn't upset — everything was all good.
So were the Sun Devils.
White scored 18 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, Remy Martin led all scorers with 23 points and Arizona State pulled away in the second half to beat Georgia 79-59 for its fifth straight win.
“All my family back home was watching the game,” White said. “I felt like I had to show out today. Had to do the best I could.”
Arizona State (8-2) controlled the entire second half, leading by as many as 24 points. Alonzo Verge Jr. added 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
White made three quick buckets early in the second half, using his powerful 6-foot-8, 235-pound body to finish through contact and help the Sun Devils build a 48-37 lead. He finished 7 of 8 from the field and grabbed six offensive rebounds.
Georgia's star freshman Anthony Edwards finished with 13 points, but only one came in the second half and he missed all five of his 3-point attempts. Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said his team did a good job of using multiple defenders to make things difficult for Edwards.
“A player of that caliber and as gifted as he is, you have to give him that type of attention and hope that you force other guys to beat you,” Hurley said.
The Bulldogs (6-3) lost for the third time in five games. They had a brutal night shooting, especially from long range, where they connected on just 2 of 24 shots (eight percent) from 3-point range. Tye Fagan led Georgia with 15 points.
The 6-foot-5 Edwards was productive early, scoring 10 of Georgia's first 15 points and finishing the first half with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting. The rest of the Bulldogs struggled, shooting 6 of 20 before the break.
Georgia was one of the best offensive teams in the nation coming into the game, averaging 86 points, but Saturday's 59 were a season low. Bulldogs coach Tom Crean said Edwards was “banged up” and dealing with an injury that affected his performance but said “he's got to play better than that. Everybody does."
“Their best players had really good games," Crean said. “Ours didn't.”
Arizona State led 39-31 at halftime after White's tip-in banked off the glass and through the hoop as time expired. Martin led the Sun Devils with 15 points in the first half.
Arizona State went ahead by 18 points in the second half on an impressive fast break. Jaelen House jumped in a passing lane for the steal and took off down the court before passing to Verge, who threw a behind-the-back pass to Kimani Lawrence for the finish.
White continued playing some of the best basketball of his college career on Saturday. The Atlanta native had averaged 15.7 points and 13.7 rebounds in the three games before facing the Bulldogs.
He went into the game shooting 70% from the field (33 of 47) this season.
“It's just the work I've put in,” White said. “Working on my body, getting my body right. Working on my vertical. Just really this summer, I tried to put in as much as work as I could to be as dominate as I could this year.”
Georgia: The Bulldogs hadn't played in 10 days, taking a break to get through the fall semester's exams. They looked rusty in their return and Edwards was quiet as Arizona State built its lead in the second half.
Arizona State: It's a nice win for the Sun Devils, who are hitting the tough part of their nonconference schedule with St. Mary's and Creighton coming up in the next week. Arizona State was especially good on defense, using defensive pressure to force Georgia into some bad decisions.
Georgia returns home to host SMU on Friday.
Arizona State faces St. Mary's in Phoenix on Wednesday.