Tempe may be a football town, especially after last night's epic victory in Tucson, but ASU basketball's Vegas Tournament finale against Creighton was a highly anticipated affair. The Devils impressed but came up short, losing 87-73 to the Jays.
Early on, the #14 Bluejays simply outclassed the Sun Devils. At the 11:55 marker in the first half, Creighton was leading 27-9 while shooting 10 for 14 and 5 for 8 from long distance. The Omaha-based Jays were rotating extremely well on defense, granting ASU no breathing room.
Despite the bleak outlook, ASU fought back led by star freshman point guard Jahii Carson. The local product has displayed flashes of brilliance to date, but tonight's performance was clearly his best as a Devil. Carson singlehandedly put a heavy backpack on and carried his squad with 30 points, seven assists and four steals. The outing goes down in school history, as Carson became the 4th freshman in ASU history to post 30 points in a game.
However, Carson's breakout did not quite cut it, as Creighton ended up winning 87-73.
The other star of tonight's action was pre-season All-American Doug McDermott. The 6'8 220-pound stud posted an impressive 29 points and nine boards, falling just shy of double-double accolades. McDermott's impact was also felt defensively, creating numerous fast break opportunities via solid defensive plays.
ASU coach Herb Sendek knows he needs to put together a solid campaign in order to impress the Sun Devil faithful, and his adjustments and creative tactics kept the Devils alive right to the end. The maroon and gold hit numerous rough spots causing Sendek to use clever timeouts that provided good coaching opportunities and room for improvement.
Disappointingly, big man Jordan Bachysnki appeared lost and rather tentative. Bachynski's early season success has been extremely promising, but the big man posted a mere eight points, two boards and no blocks against the Jays. In addition, guard Evan Gordon's rough start is still ongoing, shooting 1-3 and lacking a sense of urgency, passing up open looks on multiple occasions.
Collectively, the Devil's continue to search for a consistent answer outside of Carson and Carrick Felix. The slightly incomplete effort is mainly due to sloppy play, totaling 18 turnovers. Granting extra chances against Florida A&M worked, but wont get the job done against Pac-12 calibre opponents.
Overall, Sun Devil fans should be pleased with their team's effort. Besides Creighton's domination at tip-off, the teams essentially exchanged body blows throughout the night. ASU's next contest will be against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on November 28th in Wells Fargo arena.