(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
After knocking off the Connecticut Huskies, the Arizona State Sun Devils continue their NIT run against first-seeded Richmond on the Spiders’ home court.
In the Sun Devils’ 68-61 victory over UConn, senior forward Shaquielle McKissic continued his impressive going-out tour with 22 points and five rebounds, making it his third 20-point performance in the last four games. The Huskies’ leading scorer was sophomore guard Rodney Purvis with 19 points, while senior guard and leading-scorer Ryan Boatright missed the game due to a shoulder injury.
Richmond defeated St. Francis Brooklyn in its first NIT game by a score of 84-74 largely thanks to junior forward Terry Allen, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds. The Spiders earned a No. 1 seed in this year’s tournament after being one of the first four teams out of the NCAA Tournament.
Keys to the Game
Stop Kendall Anthony
The senior guard is Richmond’s leading scorer averaging 16.5 points per contest. Anthony failed to reach double-digits in only five games this season and had nine games in which he had at least 20 points, with a season high of 28. This will be one of the rare occurrences where freshman guard Tra Holder will be bigger than the opposing point guard, because Anthony stands at 5-foot-8 and 140 pounds. That being said, if Holder and junior guard Gerry Blakes can be physical and use their length to limit Anthony’s touches, he will have a much more difficult time.
Keep riding McKissic
Richmond’s tallest player is 6-foot-9, and while that is a big advantage for sophomore forward Savon Goodman and junior center Eric Jacobsen, McKissic has to be licking his chops considering the way he has played as of late. His aggressive style of play and freight-train like attacking style should be anything but a cakewalk for this Richmond front court to deal with.
Play a full 40 minutes
The past two games, the Sun Devils have either blown or nearly blown big leads at the end of games. A team like Richmond, who has proven itself this season, will take advantage of any letdown of energy ASU gives it. Starting games has been something the Sun Devils haven’t had a problem with, but they need to keep their foot on the pedal for the whole game if they want to continue their postseason run.
ASU’s size and athleticism will be too much for the Spiders, and considering the level ASU’s offense has been playing at, McKissic will lead them to another victory and continue to improve their impressive finish to the season.