The Morning After: ASU finds way to beat WSU

A look back at Arizona State’s 63-59 win over Washington State in Pullman, Wa.

 

Big moment

Good teams win these types of games. An opponent like WSU is the same sneaky trap game that gave Oregon its first Pac-12 lost Wednesday at Stanford and UCLA its third conference loss Wednesday.

ASU has struggled at Washington State over the last decade. It’s picked up two wins there in 2002-03 and 2009-10.

It didn’t start off well. The result? The Sun Devils are 17-4 for the first time since 1980-81. They’re 6-2 for the first time since 1993-94.

I’ve played the wait-and-see game with this team due to its soft non-conference schedule, but the Sun Devils are a legitimate contender for not only a NCAA Tournament bid, but the Pac-12 title.

Yes, it’s the win over Washington State not the games against UCLA, Oregon, Colorado or UA, but the way they were able to get a win despite their shooting woes shows plenty about this team.

 

Carson and Felix carry team

What else is there to say about redshirt freshman point guard Jahii Carson that hasn’t been said already? He went off in the second half after scoring four points on 2-of-8 shooting. Carson scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half shooting 8-of-11 from the floor. The rest of the team made six field goals in the second half.

While he only had two assists, that might’ve been his best half as a Sun Devil. The way he carried his team, that shot 38.7 percent in the game and took on the scoring load in the second half is the biggest reason ASU won the game.

Senior wing Carrick Felix was the second biggest reason. He was scoreless in the first half. He took three shots and had just one rebound. Somehow Felix finishes the game with yet another double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Felix grabbed 10 rebounds in the second half, which was half of the team’s total. He just outworked everyone on the floor on the boards.

Hustle plays

Felix hit the deck. Senior wing Chris Colvin hit the deck. Even sophomore wing Bo Barnes hit the deck.

ASU had some momentum shifting hustle plays throughout the game. Barnes gave the team a spark off the bench down 13-6 w/9:21 left in the first half. He was able to dive after a loose ball and call a timeout to secure possession. The Sun Devils splashed consecutive three-pointers as a result and get back in the game.

Felix had the play of the game however. WSU senior forward Brock Motum grabbed the rebound following Felix’s airball shot. Felix stole the ball in the backcourt, dove after the ball and found Carson, who made the layup as he was fouled. Carson completed the three-point play to give ASU a 61-58 lead with 1:32 left in the game.

Four turnovers

That’s not a typo. It’s the fewest turnovers for ASU under coach Herb Sendek. It had one turnover in the first half and three in the second half. It’s the first time this season Carson has not committed a turnover and the third time for Felix. According to ASU SID Doug Tammaro, ASU has committed 10.5 turnovers in conference play, which is the fewest in the Pac-12.