The Sun Devils kicked off the National Invitation Tournament with an 83-68 win over the University of Detroit Titans in Wells Fargo Arena.
Point guard Jahii Carson shined in the game by putting up 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. With his performance, Carson surpassed James Harden’s freshman record of 20-plus point games by recording his 17th.
“I don’t try to go out there and get points, I just try to go out there and attack the basket. It’s tough for teams to guard somebody so small,” Carson said. “It’s been great for me this season just being able to go out there and score the basketball and help my teammates get the win.”
Three other Sun Devils scored in double-digits, including forward Carrick Felix who had 21 points and seven rebounds.
“I thought Carrick Felix, as he’s done all year, did a great job with his talk to the team, making sure they were ready to go,” head coach Herb Sendek said. “The other guys echoed what he was saying, and came out and really set the tone early with our defense.”
The Sun Devils established the tempo early in the game by taking advantage of the Titans’ lack of size. Arizona State jumped out to a 30-10 lead in the first half by out rebounding the Titans 20-3. The Sun Devils gained a 46-27 lead at the half by holding the Titans to 22-percent shooting from the field.
In the second half, the Titans came out by scoring the first six points. The Titans were able to cut the deficit to nine at one point, but the Sun Devils were able to kill the momentum with streaks of their own. Foul trouble also plagued the Titans chances of orchestrating a comeback as six players finished the game with more than three fouls.
The win secured a second round match up against second-seeded Baylor for the Sun Devils. Both teams will square off Friday night in Waco, TX.
“Baylor is as talented as any team you’re going to find in this field, or in the country. We know we have a heck of a challenge Friday night, but this group will go down and give it their best shot.”
Detroit guard Jason Calliste lead all his team in scoring with 19 points
Detroit center Ugochukwu Njoku fouled out with five minutes remaining
As a team ASU shot 24-28 from the free throw line
As a team Detroit shot 26-27 from the free throw line
Jahii Carson’s 10 rebounds are a career high