If Wednesday night’s 71-63 win over Hartford proved anything, it is that Eric Jacobsen can be a legitimate post presence for the Sun Devil’s moving forward.
Jacobsen was extremely effective, accumulating 16 points and six rebounds in only 20 minutes of play. When Jacobsen came in with 14:50 left in the game, ASU clung to a small 47-43 lead. Once he came onto the court, he provided a spark off the bench and ended up scoring 13 points to help close out the win for the Sun Devils.
However, Head Coach Herb Sendek was also vocal in praising Jacobsen as an asset on the defensive side of the ball. He also noted that “Eric provides us with [defensive versatility] as a big guy who can go out on the perimeter and guard, and certainly he can guard in the post.”
While ASU can take comfort in the fact that Jacobsen is developing into a more than capable backup, they might be worried about the play from starting center Jordan Bachynski. Bachynski produced his worst statistical performance of the season against Hartford, amassing just six points, three rebounds, and three blocks. At times he did not look confident in his ability to finish, and his ball-handling continues to be an issue. The play of Bachynski down the stretch will be key in order for the Sun Devils to be a threat in the Pac-12.
Despite Bachynski’s short-comings, both Carrick Felix and Jahii Carson had big performances. Carson led the team in scoring with 20 points and also had five rebounds and six assists. He was not afraid to attack the basket against Hartford, and he also had some critical assists in the second half that helped put the game out of reach for the visiting Hawks. Felix finished with his second straight double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and is definitely emerging as the heart and soul of this team. He was the catalyst for ASU’s surge in the second half. With the game tied 45-45, Felix stole the ball at mid-court and finished with a two-handed jam that set off an eruption from the crowd while turning the momentum in ASU’s favor.
Perhaps the most impressive part about ASU’s win was the team’s staunch defense in the second half. The Sun Devils limited the Hawks to 29 percent shooting, and held them to only one field goal over an 11-minute stretch.
ASU’s biggest struggle was free throw percentage. The team shot 11-23 from the foul line on Wednesday evening.
The 7-1 Sun Devils will take on California State Northridge in Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday. The opening tip will be at noon. Check out Cronkite Sports’ coverage of the game only on CronkiteSports.com!