(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
Six days after their monumental 81-78 victory over No. 7 Arizona at home, the Arizona State Sun Devils will try to pack that momentum in their suitcases and bring it with them to Pullman to take on the Washington State Cougars. With this game being only its second in two weeks, this should be a great matchup for ASU in the pursuit of its second road win of the season.
In the previously mentioned Arizona game, freshman guard Tra Holder maintained his high level of play and had his all-around best performance of the year when it mattered most. He and sophomore forward Savon Goodman led the team with 15 points each, while Holder also tallied up eight assists. Goodman also corralled nine rebounds against Arizona, something he will most likely have to repeat in their matchup with WSU.
The Cougars last matchup didn’t quite go hand-in-hand with the Sun Devils’ game as they lost to Oregon, 95-72. Senior guard Dexter Kernich-Drew sat atop the scoring column for WSU with 18 points, followed by sophomore forward Josh Hawkinson with 14. Hawkinson, who will likely be matched up with Goodman, grabbed 11 rebounds in the loss and is currently leading the Pac-12 in rebounding with 10.8 per game.
Keys to the game
Stop DaVonte Lacy
Wazzu goes as Lacy goes. In losses, the senior guard is averaging 12.5 points per game, compared to his 22.6 points points per victory. Mentioned as one of the best NBA prospects out of the Pac-12 this preseason, this guy can score in a hurry. Likely to be matched up with senior forward Bo Barnes and junior guard Gerry Blakes, they will have to do what they did against Arizona’s wings to ensure that the Sun Devils will be in pretty good shape.
Keep Hawkinson off the glass
As previously mentioned, Hawkinson is leading the Pac-12 in rebounds per game. Other than him, there is nobody else on the team averaging more than three per contest. Junior center Eric Jacobsen along with Goodman grabbed 16 boards together against a big Arizona team, so while they will have their work cut out for them, they are surely capable of holding down the paint from one guy.
Keep letting Tra Holder make plays
ASU struggled early in the year to put up points consistently, but as of late they’ve found their groove on the offensive end, scoring at least 70 in five of their last six games. Not coincidentally, Holder’s emergence has come along that same stretch of games. His aggressiveness and shot selection have not only improved, but actually shown up game after game following his rough start to the year.
ASU is rolling right now and seeming to finally find its identity on offense, which leads me to think that against a struggling Washington State team that has given up at least 85 points seven times this season, that shouldn’t change. Not to mention the kind of important victory they picked up last Saturday, ASU should win.