Recap and analysis: The Wooden Legacy Tournament

Updated: December 2, 2013

(Photo: Noah Findling/WCSN)


ASU loses to Creighton 88-60

The Sun Devils struggled early as Jordan Bachynski picked up two quick fouls in the first half. Creighton got up 24-9 thanks to a 9-0 run with every point scored by Doug McDermott or Devin Brooks but the Sun Devils came back with a 9-0 run of their own to cut the Creighton lead to 30-24 but that’s as close as the Sun Devils would get as Creighton expanded their lead to 45-31 at halftime.

Creighton only continued to dominate the second half. A layup by Shaquielle McKissic pulled the Sun Devils within 11 points at 52-41 with 16 minutes left in the game but the Bluejays would go on a 36-19 run to finish out the dominating win.

McDermott led the way for the Bluejays with 27 points in 26 minutes followed by Devin Brooks with 23 points. Jahii Carson led ASU with 15 points followed by Jermaine Marshall and Richie Edwards with 12 points a piece.

My take:

It seemed like Creighton couldn’t miss all night. Jonathan Gilling struggled against Doug McDermott and Bachynski sitting in the first half didn’t help matters. Brooks was an addition to the Bluejays this season and Grant Gibbs returned as well so this was a different and better Creighton team. They just had too many weapons for the Sun Devils. The one thing that did bother me was that as the game wore on ASU had more and more trouble getting over the top of ball screens which is why Creighton hit more threes late in the game. However, this is a very good Creighton team that will excel in the Big East this season. They certainly proved their no. 20 ranking.

Richie Edwards was a pleasant surprise in place of Bachynski and Koulechov got into foul trouble but only because of the defense he had to play on McDermott. Sun Devil fans shouldn’t panic. This team can play and Creighton could give any team in the country a close game. ASU didn’t lose or throw the game away, they just got beat.

ASU defeats College of Charleston 80-58

Both teams came out slow as neither team reached 10 points until seven minutes into the game. The first half was mostly back and forth highlighted by the Sun Devil’s inability to rebound getting outplayed on the glass 21-11.

After the College of Charleston scored the first five points of the second half to bring the score to 36-35, the Sun Devils went on a 12-0 run to extend the lead to 13 points capped off by a three pointer from Egor Koulechov. After Willis Hall laid in a bucket with 8:21 to play, ASU went on another 15-3 run over the next five minutes to bring the score to 78-51 when the team from Tempe called off the dogs in favor of the reserves.

Jahii Carson finished with 21 points and seven assists. Jordan Bachynski added 16 points but only three rebounds while Jonathan Gilling and Egor Koulechov added 15 and 12 points respectively.

My take:

The thing that bothered me the most was the lack of urgency ASU played with in the first half. Jahii Carson had 11 points but the unwillingness to crash the boards was worrisome. ASU has to realize that with the number of three pointers they are taking, they are going to yield longer rebounds and therefore blocking out under the basket may not be the best option. Richie Edwards faded back onto the bench while Egor Koulechov once again proved his starting spot in what was his best game to date.

The bench production was suspect at best with only 13 points, the first of which came five minutes into the second half. The free throw roller coaster continues to be the most talked about non-issue as ASU got back on track tonight shooting 14-16 from the free throw line. The Sun Devils only had five turnovers all night compared to 15 for College of Charleston. However the rebounding continues to hurt ASU which only had two fast break points on the night.

ASU loses to Miami (FL) 60-57

It was a tale of two halves for the Sun Devils that got off to a quick 6-0 lead and controlled the pace for much of the first half before Jahii Carson sprained his ankle and the team fell apart down the stretch.

After Rion Brown tied the game with a free throw at 11, ASU went on an 11-1 run but would let Miami back in the game once again only scoring five points in the last four minutes of the first half.

Jordan Bachynski stepped up in the second half for ASU as Carson battled through but struggled to get his typical vertical leap for most of the second half. The Sun Devils clung to a lead and spread it to eight points at 47-39 on a Bachynski jumper with 11 minutes and 18 seconds remaining in the game. The Hurricanes then went on a 12-0 run over the next six minutes to take a 51-47 lead capped off by two James Kelly free throws. The Sun Devils managed to keep the game close in the waning minutes but a dunk from Rion Brown with 34 seconds left to play gave Miami a 59-57 lead. Jermaine Marshall missed an open three-pointer that would have tied the game at 60 in the final seconds.

ASU shot 50 percent from the field in the first half but only 31 percent in the second half in the losing effort. Jordan Bachynski led ASU with a season-high 20 points and 15 boards for the Sun Devils. Carson, struggling with his ankle, only managed two of 14 shooting on the day with eight points and three assists.

My take:

The first half of play looked incredibly promising but this team is just lost without Jahii Carson on the court. Chance Murray and Caelen Robinson can only do so much in their first moments as Sun Devils. Miami is not an awful team by any stretch of the imagination but this is certainly one that will not look good on a tournament resume.

It’s certainly no excuse but this team just played four games in six days against some high-level division one opponents. Sunday they were tired and banged up and it showed. This team needs its rest and a win against DePaul on the road should certainly help. A weak December schedule outside of Texas Tech gives ASU an okay loss and a bad loss heading into conference play with two good wins over Marquette and UNLV.  This team’s tournament hopes are far from over but this is certainly a game (and a tournament) ASU would like to have back.

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