The Sun Devils didn't just need a win. ASU simply had to win against Washington State.
On their home court and coming off a Pac-12 opening loss to Washington, the Devils were hosting a banged-up Cougars squad that had scored seven points in the first half against top-ranked Arizona.
In Tempe on Sunday, the Devils went on a 20-4 run in the second half to pull away for good and post a 66-47 conference win.
ASU held the Cougars (7-7, 0-2) to 34 percent shooting three days after WSU's worst offensive showing in 76 years in a 60-25 loss in Tucson on Thursday night.
Jahii Carson scored 14 points and Shaquielle McKissic 12 for the Sun Devils (12-3, 1-1 Pac-12).
However, it wasn't easy in the early going. Barely two minutes into the second half, Carson's 3-pointer put Arizona State up 33-25, but the Cougs rallied to slice it to 33-31 with 17:09 to play.
Jermaine Marshall then scored the game's next eight points with a three-point play, a drive to the basket and a 3-pointer, putting Arizona State up 41-31 with 14:03 to go.
The 26 points by the senior transfer were Marshall's most at Arizona State and three shy of his career high (set for Penn State against Michigan State last Jan. 16).
"Jermaine, throughout his career, has demonstrated the ability to score," Sun Devils coach Herb Sendek said. "He finds ways to get buckets. When he's doing that, without showing off the obvious here, we're a lot better."
In fact, Sendek said the entire Arizona State team took better shots than it had in the disappointing loss to Washington.
"To take worse shots might not have been possible, though, than we took on Thursday night," Sendek said. "We took shots on Thursday night that a bold person wouldn't take in a game of horse...I've seen some great horse games at family picnics through the years, trick shots, shots under the influence, and they wouldn't even rival some of the shots that our team took Thursday night."