Filipino American point guards face off in key Pac-12 matchup

SALT LAKE CITY — College basketball’s top two Filipino-American players faced off Saturday night in a key Pac-12 matchup between the Utah Utes and Arizona State Sun Devils.

Utah senior Sedrick Bihis Barefield and ASU sophomore Remy Macaspac Martin both put up big numbers in the contest. Barefield led the Utes with 17 points, four steals and four assists.

“He’s a great guard,” Martin said of his counterpart. “He can score from all levels of the court. He can shoot from NBA range.”

Martin meanwhile knocked down 6-of-11 shots for 16 points while adding five assists and three steals for the Sun Devils.

“I think I did well,” he said. “I think I could’ve made some better plays in the first half, but for the most part all I want is the win. All I did was try to contribute and help our team win.”

In the end, Martin’s Sun Devils burned Utah for a 98-87 victory, improving their record to 17-8.

“We’re not satisfied,” Martin said. “We gotta continue to play hard. We gotta continue to make sure that we take it game by game, step by step, and not worry about March, and just worry about finishing February off, and then we’ll be fine.”

With the loss, Barefield’s Utes drop to 14-11 but remain tied with ASU for third place in the Pac-12 with a conference record of 8-5.

“Overall, I’m proud of how we fought,” Barefield said. “I’m proud of our effort. And it’s one of those things where I just try to learn from it and come back stronger the next game.”

Barefield and Martin have both improved from last year and are playing leading roles for their teams this season. Barefield is now averaging 16.2 points and 4.0 assists per game while Martin is collecting 13.0 points and 5.1 assists.

The Filipino-American floor generals both said they respect each other’s game and enjoy their mini-rivalry.

“He’s a great guard,” Martin said. “I just wanna play against great guards as well. Knowing that he’s Filipino too, which is really cool, we get to battle it out, and I’m just a competitor, and I cherish these moments.”

Unless Arizona State and Utah face each other in the postseason, this will end up being the fourth and final collegiate matchup between Barefield and Martin, with each player winning two games in the span of two years.

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