(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
ASU is not the only team looking to overcome an embarrassing defeat in their conference-opener. The Sun Devils will try to bounce back from their previous 76-65 defeat against Washington. The Washington State Cougars will try to do the same, coming from a miserable 60-25 loss against No. 1 Arizona on Thursday.
Both teams are trying for the rebound. Both teams also have players who rank within the top ten best players in the Pac-12 conference.
On the Sun Devil side is sophomore Jahii Carson, who just might be in contention for Player of the Year, along with senior forward Jordan Bachynski.
On the Cougars’ side is redshirt senior D.J. Shelton, and junior DeVonté Lacy who averages 18.9 points a game.
Lacy has missed the last two games as a result of appendicitis and his return is questionable for tomorrow. Junior guard Dexter Kernich-Drew was also out due to a concussion.
Despite being shorthanded, 25 points is a dreadful total for any college basketball game. Arizona does have an outstanding defense, but the Cougars were an abysmal 9 for 45 from the field, which landed WSU with a 20% field goal percentage by the end of the game.
ASU wasn’t too much better from the field, shooting 39%, in their loss to Washington. The Sun Devils will look to turn that around as their second conference game comes knocking in Tempe on Sunday at 4 p.m.
Keys to Victory:
1. Hold on to the Ball:
ASU tends to shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers. In their last game Washington forced 11 turnovers adding to their 24-point lead over ASU at one point in the game. The Sun Devils are also a team who ride the momentum of the game. If ASU can diminish these turnovers they will have a better chance of maintaining the moment, propelling them towards a run over Washington State’s shaky defense.
2. Get Inside the Paint:
The Sun Devils need to have more of a domineering presence inside the paint. Out of their 65 points against UW, only 34 were from inside the paint. While ASU can normally sink their shots from behind the arc, the closer the better for players like Jordan Bachynski who can post up and get those easy points quicker
3. Marshall and Gilling Need to Produce:
Whenever Jermaine Marshall is in double figures in points, the total score reflects it. Likewise, when Jonathan Gilling hits those crispy threes, it stirs an ASU run more often than not. If Marshall and Gilling can get hot, there will likely be four players in double digits. If ASU can stack up the points early, it will be difficult for WSU to come back if it is missing its lead scorer.
ASU is coming into this game with 3 losses while WSU is just better than .500 with 7 wins and 6 losses. If two of its key players are in fact out for tomorrow, it will make it hard for Washington State to stack up the points, as evidenced by the Arizona game. Arizona State will take a solid win with a final score of 78-55.