ASU chalked up its ninth win in ugly fashion, but its leader came through once again.
Senior wing Carrick Felix stuffed the stats with 13 points on 6-of-15 shooting, 14 rebounds, a career-high five blocks and four steals in ASU’s 61-42 win over Dartmouth.
While his night from the floor was on par with the Sun Devils’ poor shooting night — 45.6 percent and 2-of-14 from 3-point range — Felix came through for ASU (9-2) down the stretch in the second half.
The Big Green (2-7) cut its deficit down to seven with 7:09 left before the Sun Devils went on a 12-1 run that lasted three minutes. Felix had four points, four rebounds and a steal during the stretch to finally give ASU complete control of the game with four minutes left. Felix did all this despite picking up his third foul early in the second half.
“He has already demonstrated this season that maybe he cannot shoot his best, but still greatly impact the game,” ASU coach Herb Sendek said. “He’s already demonstrated he can weather foul trouble, stay connected and greatly impact the game. … We’ve asked him to do a great deal and he’s delivered.”
“I always come through in the clutch time,” Felix added. “Just putting in the work during the summer and my teammates giving me the confidence and encouraging me to play my game.”
The Sun Devils suffered offensively from another strange shooting night. They struggled to knock down 3-point shots, even though some were wide-open looks, against a pretty bad team. Sophomore forward Jonathan Gilling and junior wing Evan Gordon were the only players to make a 3-pointer. They shot 2-of-10 from long range.
“I think we have to play better, but things are never as good or as bad as they may first appear,” Sendek said. “If we shoot the ball better — even Wednesday night (against DePaul) — at any number of intersections in the game, it has a completely different feel.”
ASU struggled from the free-throw again as well, shooting 7-of-13 from the charity stripe. It’s been one of the main problems during non-conference play, though the team is consistently getting to the free throw line. Redshirt freshman point guard Jahii Carson surprisingly got to the line just two times. He sunk both of his free throws as he finished with 18 points and six assists.
“Teams like to come in here and try to slow us down,” Carson said. “They don’t have a lot of confidence as far as running with us. They try to slow us down and throw different defenses at us to get us off balance. We just got to keep focus and punch them in the face first and let them know we’re making a statement early.”
Unlike its blowout loss to DePaul Wednesday, ASU remained active on defense. The Big Green shot 32.7 percent from the floor. Dartmouth started 5-for-10 from the floor and tied the game at 11 with 13:38 left. The Big Green went 3-of-16 after that point. Sendek showed a new look during the stretch, inserting Felix at guard next to Carson. True freshman forward Kenny Martin was in the frontcourt and provided a spark off the bench. The raw talent had two points, three rebounds and a key block in 10 minutes.
“He’s a high-motor, high energy guy,” Sendek said. “I think once he’s able to play and not think so much, because he really has a lot on his plate in terms of learning, it’ll be even a better motor.”
The Sun Devils will get a week off before their next game at Texas Tech. It’ll be their first true road game this season. The Sun Devils had two neutral site games during the Las Vegas Invitational. This will be their only road game during non-conference play. Tip-off is at noon on Fox Sports Arizona.
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