Men’s basketball hopes to take momentum to OSU

The ASU men’s basketball team will begin its first Pac-12 road trip this season Thursday against Oregon State.

The Sun Devils (13-2, 2-0 Pac-12) have played just one true road game this season. They defeated Texas Tech in Lubbock 77-62 on Dec. 22. Their other two games away from Wells Fargo Arena occurred during the Continental Tires Las Vegas Invitational during Thanksgiving weekend, in which the Sun Devils defeated Arkansas but lost to No. 13 Creighton.

“We’re pretty standard in our approach whether we’re home or away,” coach Herb Sendek said. “We go about our preparation the same kind of way. … We really just try to focus on ourselves, try and get better at every opportunity. All that good ‘coach speak’ stuff that brings so true.”

The Sun Devils will face the Beavers (10-4, 0-1 Pac-12) with plenty of momentum.

They defeated Colorado 65-56 Sunday in their biggest win since they upset UA at home to end the regular season last year. ASU followed that win over the Wildcats with a 20-point loss to Stanford in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament.

“We got to have carry over,” senior wing Carrick Felix said about Thursday’s game. “That’s one thing we got to have.”

This team showed Sunday it’s not the same squad from last season.

Felix earned his Pac-12 Player of the Week award this season, and he’s posted career highs in nearly every category despite playing the same amount of minutes.

“He’s had a brilliant season to this point,” Sendek said. “The product of just a tremendous amount of hard work and really every day, no matter what we’re doing, he’s all out.”

Sendek said Felix played with tremendous heart in ASU’s win over Colorado.

While Felix dominated the box score with 20 points and eight rebounds, redshirt freshman guard Jahii Carson continues to be the floor general on offense.

Carson had five points, three assists and four rebounds. But his stat sheet does not show how much he opened up the floor for his other teammates in the win.

“Some of our opponents have decided to really load up, and that’s a big opportunity for our other guys,” Sendek said. “That’s what good players do. I thought he handled that very well on a night he wasn’t getting a lot of shots.”

This will be Carson’s first Pac-12 road trip in his young career. He said the team has to stay humble despite Sunday’s win.

He’ll be facing junior guards Roberto Nelson and Ahmad Starks, who scored 40 of Oregon State’s 66 points in its loss to Oregon Sunday. The Beavers rank third in the conference with 77.1 points a game. Nelson is seventh in the conference this season, averaging 16 points per game.

“Those are the type of guys that can shoot the basketball, use the screens, have ultimate green lights and who look to get their teammates involved by scoring the basketball,” Carson said. “That’s definitely going to be a challenge for me.”

Tip-off is at 9:30 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network and 620 AM.

 

Reach the reporter at mtesfats@asu.edu