Junior center Jordan Bachynski took a playful jab at the third best team in the country following ASU’s 65-56 win over Colorado.
Of course, that team would be the UA Wildcats. They defeated the Buffaloes 92-83 Thursday in overtime, but there was a controversial play at the end of regulation.
CU Senior guard Sabatino Chen banked a game-winning three-point shot at the end of the game that did not count. While it looked like Chen got it off just as time expired, the officials waived it off after reviewing the tape.
Colorado had the 5th best RPI by RealtimeRPI.com and the 6th best on Rivals.com and CBSSports.com entering Sunday’s contest. Bachynski was asked if this win would make people notice the Sun Devils from a national perspective. His response:
“They’re a great team. They won the Pac last year. They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with this year. For us to step up and play like we did and come out with a win – I mean, it wasn’t an overtime win, so I think it was little bit better than our friends down south – but they’re a great team. I think this is a huge win for us.”
The quote will probably rile up UA’s fan base but it speaks about ASU’s confidence level. This was a big win for the program considering the opponents it has faced up to this point.
The purpose to play a cupcake non-conference schedule was to boost the confidence level of a program with two transfers and a highly touted point guard that sat out last year.
It seems to be working.
ASU and UA will meet up for the first time this season on Jan. 19 at Wells Fargo Arena. Before that, both teams will make their first conference road trip this week to face Oregon and Oregon State.
The Ducks picked up a big win over UNLV on the road, and it should make for a tough game in Eugene, Ore., for both schools.
Spencer Dinwiddie vs. Jahii Carson
It was a treat to see two of the best point guards in the conference Sunday in sophomore Spencer Dinwiddie and redshirt freshman Jahii Carson.
It was a battle of a true point guard in Carson against a great scoring point guard in Dinwiddie. They both affected the game in different ways.
Dinwiddie led the Buffaloes in scoring for the fourth time this season with 19 points. He took 20 attempts, a career high, and made eight shots. He was 1-for-8 from three-point range as well.
Credit to senior guard Chris Colvin and junior guard Evan Gordon, who were on Dinwiddie for most of the night. ASU held Colorado to 23 points in the second half. Senior wing Carrick Felix said it was the best half the team has played on defense all season.
Carson didn’t lead the team in scoring. His stats look pretty bland: five points on 1-4 shooting, four rebounds and three assists. The way Carson was able to dictate the flow and remain in control was huge in ASU’s comeback win.
“He might not have had many points but he contributed so much to the game,” Bachynski said. “You don’t have to score to affect the game. He showed that to us tonight. He controlled the floor. He played great defense, and he did what we needed him to do.”
“He was the floor general tonight talking to players and putting them in the right spots,” Felix added. “Just executing on offense and giving us a spark on offense.”
It was a small detail in the game that probably went unnoticed, but it further showed what kind of leader Felix has been for this team.
The Sun Devils were up 60-54 with 40 seconds left when CU junior forward Andre Roberson was at the free throw line for the one-and-one. Freshman forward Xavier Johnson was sandwiched between sophomore forward Jonathan Gilling and Felix.
Roberson made the first free throw, but Johnson got real physical in the low block with Gilling in attempt to retrieve a possible rebound. Gilling seemed upset, and Felix switched places with Johnson for Roberson’s second free throw.
“Jon and him got a little physical and starting talking a little bit,” Felix said. “Jon can be a little heated at times, so I just tried to get him off the bottom, so he wouldn’t pick up a foul.”
Felix did a great job to box out Johnson on the second free throw, which Roberson missed. Gilling grabbed the rebound, and Johnson immediately fouled him and fouled out of the game. Gilling sunk both free throws to push ASU’s lead to eight with 38 seconds left and seal the win.
“Jon is a big body, but I just wanted to give him a little senior strength,” Felix said. “He’s a freshman, so I just wanted to give it to him a little bit. It opened up Jon to get the rebound, and it was a big part of the game right there.
“It was just the senior wisdom kicking it. I was out there playing, and I just know my role.”
Felix finished with a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds in the win. It seems like Sendek can’t have a press conference this season without complimenting Felix for his play this season. The praise is well deserved given his performance so far on both ends.
“I don’t know if I’ve coached a guy who has played with more heart,” Sendek said. “The guy doesn’t take one second off, and his effort and his energy and his heart have been remarkable.”
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