Prior to its first game in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., the ASU men’s basketball team took a trip to Disney World as a part of the three-day tournament Wednesday.
Perhaps the twists and turns of the thrill rides at the park were foreshadowing the Sun Devils’ roller coaster Thanksgiving weekend.
It started grimly for the Sun Devils. Fairfield defeated ASU 55-44 in its tournament opener on Thursday. The Sun Devils produced their lowest point this season to a team projected to finish second in the MAAC.
Then, ASU dominated Wake Forest 84-56 in its second game.
The Sun Devils snapped a three-game losing streak in easily their best performance this season Friday. They dominated in nearly every aspect of the game, including on the glass. ASU outrebounded Wake Forest 35-23.
Sophomore Keala King was one of four players in double figures. He led ASU with a career-high 25 points and added eight rebounds. Junior wing Trent Lockett collected his second double-double this season with 20 points and 10 boards.
Wake Forest shot 34.6 percent from the floor and just 2-for-15 from three-point range. Junior guard C.J. Harris was the only Demon Deacon in double figures. He had 17 points and five rebounds.
The Sun Devils went from arguably their lowest-to-highest point of the season in a span of 24 hours, and still had a game to play.
ASU fell to DePaul, 68-64, in the fifth-place game Sunday.
Down 62-52 with 3:39 left, the Sun Devils went on a 12-4 run to pull within two points. Sophomore forward Jordan Bachynski had a chance to tie the game at the charity stripe with 12 seconds left. He missed his first free throw and attempted to intentionally miss the second attempt but ASU was called for lane violation.
Even on the road, turnovers continue to be a problem for the Sun Devils. They committed 19 Sunday, right in line with the 18.6 average before the game. ASU struggled with the full-court press DePaul put on for the majority of the game. Its inability to get through the press caused a number of turnovers. Sophomore Jordan Bachynski had back-to-back turnovers on the inbounds in the second half, including a five-second violation.
Offensively, the start wasn’t remotely close to what it was against Wake Forest. ASU scored nine points in a little over 13 minutes. It finished with a better field goal percentage than DePaul — 41.4 to 36.4 percent — but it never lead after the after the 17:39 mark when the Blue Demons tied it at four.
Despite the loss, the team did show improvement in its last two games of the tournament.
King had another impressive performance showing his ability to get to the rim at point guard in place of junior Chris Colvin, who went scoreless in 14 minutes. King led the team with 22 points and just two turnovers. Lockett added 19 points and 12 rebounds while sophomore forward Kyle Cain grabbed 15 rebounds.
Junior wing Carrick Felix showed his athletic abilities throughout the tournament. With an injured wrist he suffered against Wake Forest, Felix finished with 12 points and four rebounds. But he also had moments that won’t be seen in a box score, whether it’d be a tip-in slam or blocking a breakaway dunk from behind.
The Sun Devils will have nearly a week to prepare for before they hit the road to Tulsa to face the Golden Hurricane on Saturday.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org