Continuing the trend of 1 game a week, ASU plays an extremely close game after not playing for a week and nearly loses - frankly, it could be argued we did lose this game. But the officials took a look at BYU's game winning shot and determined it came after the buzzer - so we were saved. BYU is a really good team - they were 10-0 before this loss, and i would not be surprised to see them crack the top 25 before the end of the season.
They played us tough, lead for 75% of the game - and were even up by 10 with 8 mintutes to go.
But - it was not enough.
ASU showed once again the resiliency that has become a staple of these Sendek coached teams. The guy just breeds this atmosphere of no-quit basketball and the players have bought in. The guys might have been outplayed, but they never gave up.
Before I get to the good things, the bad.
The defense was ok, but we need to capitalize on the turnovers. They turned the ball over 16 times, and often we would rush down and waste the possession with a stupid three. I'm looking at you Ty Abbott. The not so super-soph was 2-10 FG, 2-7 3PA, had NO free throws, and ended up with 6 points, 3 rebs, 3 ast, 1 steal, 1 TO. The kid just is not producing. He played 29 mins, and really has not found a groove all seasonl. He needs to step up, because if he is going to continually play 30 mins a game, he cant do this kind of thing. He is supposed to be the third, if not second, scoring option on offense. Two thirds of his field goal attempts have been three pointers, and he is shooting 25% on threes. That is awful. Frankly, if he does not improve, i think there is reason to start Shipp or McMillan over him, just to send a message. He could still get his 20-25 mins, but he needs to shoot a higher percentage.
Another thing is the amount of minutes Derek Glasser has been getting - and the lack of production the team has been getting for those minutes. For example this game - 32 mins. 1 point. 1 assist. 3 turnovers. 3 rebounds. 1 steal. 0-1 FG, 1-4 FT.
Are you joking me? His counterpart on BYU also scored 16 points and shot 50%, so he wasn't exactly providing stellar defense. The guy shouldn't be getting these kinds of minutes - not when McMillan is behind him. ANd while McMillan has been lacking confidence and is still raw - the kid's upside is so much bigger. Look at what happens when he gets his shot to play. 18 mins, 10 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks (one at a huge moment near the end of the game) and 2 turnovers. He just is a better, more athletic player. I know Harden loves Glasser, but i think its time to give McMillan some more PT.
Kuksiks also disappeared - he has trouble creating his own shot, but he played ok and demanded a defender at all times.
The bright spots of the night came from Harden (natch) and Pendergraph. Jeff had 22 points and 9 rebounds. He shot a high percentage, avoided mistakes, and held his man to 7 points. He needs to become more aggressive offensively, our tallest guy only getting 5 FTA is not ok, but he has really mastered his midrange game.
Harden - he carried us to victory again. He was so aggressive on offense, I love it. His 21 FTAs were more than all of BYU's team (19). 30 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assits, 5 steals. The kid was ballin'. He is ASU basketball at the moment. The team lives and dies by his production. We lived tonight, even though it was close.
#17 ASU (9-1) will face the Idaho State Bengals (2-8) at home on Tuesday, December 23rd at 2 PM. Expect a blow out.