The Arizona St. Sun Devils returned home from a game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane riding high, fresh off of a 67-64 win and flashing the potential to overcome their early season struggles. ASU couldn't keep its momentum going on Wednesday as it fell to the Nevada Wolf Pack 69-61.
The Sun Devils started the game slowly, and Nevada capitalized by rushing out to a 16-6 lead. ASU fought back to take a 21-19 lead, and the Sun Devils entered halftime with a slim 29-27 lead behind 10 points from Carrick Felix.
Everything changed in the second half, though, when the Sun Devils started committing the turnovers that have mired their play during the early part of the 2011-12 season. The game appeared relatively deadlocked at 49-47 with 8:48 left to go in the second half, but miscues by the ASU players resulted in multiple turnovers that never allowed the Sun Devils to pull ahead.
First, there was a foul on a three-point shot by Deonte Burton with 2:52 left that increased a 58-54 deficit to 60-54. Another turnover followed shortly after as an ill-advised cross-court pass turned another four-point deficit into six points with the time running down.
The Sun Devils made the same error a third time with just one minute left in the game. Down 65-61 (again, by four points), ASU committed a flagrant foul that could very well have proven costly. The Wolf Pack weren't able to capitalize on either of the two free throws or the extra possession, but by then the errors had piled up too high for the Sun Devils and the team found itself staring at a 69-61 loss.
Keala King, Carrick Felix and Kyle Cain led the way for the Sun Devils with 16, 15 and 12 points, respectively. Cain also had 10 of ASU's 29 rebounds to secure a double-double. Trent Lockett was held to a quiet night with only 4 points on one-of-five shooting as he once again struggled with fouls.
The Sun Devils need to find some consistency as Pac-12 conference play approaches. This team has shown us both its good and its bad, and ASU needs to find a way to cut down on its turnovers in order to string together wins. ASU plays the North Dakota State Bison next on Saturday, Dec. 10th at home.