A look back at ASU’s 71-54 loss to in-state rival UA on Saturday:
Felix’s poor play
Senior wing Carrick Felix said it best, “Today just wasn’t my day.”
Five points, on 1-of-8 shooting, in 40 minutes is abnormal for Felix this season. The only other game this season Felix hasn’t posted double-figures was the season opener against Central Arkansas. He had seven points on 3-of-11 shooting in 31 minutes.
“I just kind of did it to myself,” Felix said. “The way teams lose in college basketball is they beat themselves and I think I did that tonight. I didn’t step up for my team.”
He scored his first points with 15:17 left in the game. He hesitated throughout the game on his shots. This game seemed like one of Felix’s inconsistent games last season. It would’ve been expected last season but how he came out flat in a rivalry game was pretty shocking given his play this year.
“We’ve relied so heavily on Carrick and he’s having a sensational senior year,” coach Herb Sendek said. “Today wasn’t his day in any way, shape or form. For us to absorb that kind of game from Carrick is a lot to ask of our team right now because we depend on him in so many ways. Today just wasn’t his day at the ballpark.”
Carson’s foul trouble
Redshirt freshman point guard Jahii Carson picked up a foul on the first defensive possession and couldn’t stay out of foul trouble throughout the game. He picked up his third foul with nine seconds in the half. Somehow Carson wasn’t called for a five-second violation, but he made a nice move splitting a double team. It looked like senior wing Kevin Parrom was shuffling his feet when watching the game again, but it was difficult to tell in person. The ref was in great position to see the call as well.
The fourth foul with 9:50 left in the game wasn’t smart. Senior guard Mark Lyons already got past Carson as he drove to the paint. Pateev was in front of Lyons as the help defender, but Carson grabbed Lyons’ left arm as he was going up. Carson has to let him go there with Pateev in position.
ASU was down 46-44 when Carson picked up his fourth foul. UA went on a 9-0 run before Sendek put Carson back in the game.
“We tried to give him a couple possession with him on the sidelines but at that point we were down,” Sendek said. “They did a good job of attacking him with four fouls, and he was understandably cautious. Defensively, that was very difficult on us.”
Carson couldn’t play as aggressively on both ends and UA held a comfortable lead for the rest of the game. With senior guard Chris Colvin suspended for violating team rules, a lineup consisting of junior guard Evan Gordon, sophomore guard Bo Barnes, Felix, sophomore forward Jonathan Gilling and junior center Jordan Bachynski wasn’t effective. Gordon was the team’s only option with this lineup. He had just as many points, 14, as the other four guys in that lineup.
ASU didn’t get much from its bigs Saturday. Bachynski and senior center Rusland Pateev went 2-of-8 from the floor. They scored seven points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Sendek didn’t say much about when Colvin will return with the team. I wrote a feature on Colvin’s progress over the last year. The coaches and his teammates all praised his efforts this season, which Sendek mentioned he was having a “really good” senior year after the game.
The Sun Devils surely could’ve used him with Carson’s foul troubles as he would’ve been a much better option than Barnes.
Here’s what Carson said about his teammate after the game:
“Chris Colvin is a rough guy. He’s a dog. When I stepped out and had four fouls, he can go in and guard the guards. He can guard Solomon Hill. He can guard guys who are tougher for us to guard when we have fouls. I can’t foul, that’d give me five fouls and put us in a difficult position. Chris Colvin can go out there and set the tempo with his defense as well.
“He disappointed us, he did as a teammate. There’s a possibility that can happen to people. I just think he would’ve stepped up for us big time if he would’ve played today. I always forgive my teammate. He’s my guy and I’m not going to be too harsh on him.”
ASU has done a good job this season limiting its turnovers especially in conference play. That was until it collected 17 turnovers Saturday.
To add to Felix’s poor offensive night, he had a career-high seven turnovers. Carson had four turnovers, which is the most since he had four turnovers against Texas Tech on December 22. Bachynski had three turnovers.
“They’re a good defensive team,” Sendek said. “I don’t want to take away from their effort defensively, but I’d like to think that we control our turnovers more than our opponent does. Obviously, you don’t have to look too far from that number to see why we struggled. 17 turnovers in a game like this is just far too many. That was a significant factor in this game.”
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