The Morning After: ASU upsets Colorado

A look back at ASU’s 63-62 overtime victory over No. 21 Colorado Saturday:

Final Play

How many times have you seen junior guard Evan Gordon’s game-winning layup and wonder how Gordon made it?

We’ll start when there was 24 seconds left in overtime and senior wing Carrick Felix missed both free throws. Then senior guard Chris Colvin entered the game for junior center Jordan Bachynski.

My assumption: coach Herb Sendek took out Bachynski to matchup better with Colorado.

Felix slid over to the, “five,” spot to cover junior forward Andre Roberson. Sophomore forward Jonathan Gilling then was able to defend freshman forward Xavier Johnson and redshirt freshman point guard Jahii Carson was on senior guard Sabatino Chen. That left two of ASU’s best perimeter defenders on Colorado’s biggest weapons – junior guard Evan Gordon on sophomore guard Askia Booker and Colvin guarding sophomore guard Spencer Dinwiddie.

Dinwiddie dribbled up to the right wing, where Roberson approached to set a ball screen to Dinwiddie’s left side. The tiny hesitation move before he drove right gave him enough room to drive into the paint. Without Bachynski on the floor, there wasn’t an enforcer. Gilling came over too late and Dinwiddie made a pretty tough shot with 8.3 seconds left.

This is where Carson’s speed comes into play.

Sendek didn’t call timeout, which has only happened once to my recollection in late game situations this season (Washington State) and Carson crossed midcourt with 6.8 seconds left. It gave ASU a chance to score on drive rather than forcing up a desperation three-pointer.

Carson dribbled over to the right wing, where Colorado nearly trapped him along the sideline before he passed to Gordon.

There was a tiny window Gordon went through with Chen defending him and by the time he took off, four Colorado defenders were around him attempting to disrupt his finger roll. Roberson was late coming over to block Gordon’s layup because Felix and Gilling were spread out along the left wing and left corner.

While it’s easy to question why Bachynski wasn’t in the game late to stop Dinwiddie’s drive, it’s important to note Gordon likely wouldn’t have had that lane to drive through with Bachynski in the game. In both situations, Bachynski’s absence impacted the game.

Given the luck of this program, assistant coach Dedrique Taylor probably had the most logical answer to this wild result.

“Time was due for us to get one,” Taylor said. “It was a heck of a game.”

The Big Dance

With the parity in college basketball, it’s extremely difficult to say ASU would make the tournament right now with five games left in the regular season. But the win definitely increased its chances following a tough loss to Utah Wednesday.

Except for the ACC, every major conference has a tight race. The Pac-12 is no different.

 

ASU swept Colorado this season, which should take precedence, but the Buffaloes have a better RPI. It honestly depends on how each individual in the selection committee looks at a team’s resume.

ASU’s strength of schedule will hurt them despite a 19-win season so far.

The Sun Devils have played just three games against top-25 RPI opponents. They’re 2-1 with both wins against Colorado. They’re 69th in RPI and 58th in BPI according to ESPN.com.

They have two great opportunities to improve their resume and RPI finishing the season at UCLA and Arizona. It’s difficult to guess how many wins they need, but they can’t lose to Washington State Wednesday. The Cougars have the worst RPI in the Pac-12. They’re 188th according to ESPN.com

Reach the reporter at mtesfats@asu.edu