Jahii Carson has 12 points at the half in the rivalry battle - Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Behind stellar guard play, the Arizona State Sun Devils are keeping up with the No. 7 Arizona Wildcats in front of an electric crowd at Wells Fargo Arena.
Coming into the rivalry matchup, the Arizona State Sun Devils knew they needed to play an almost perfect game to beat the Arizona Wildcats. At the halftime break, Coach Herb Sendek and his team can take comfort in the fact that the Sun Devils trail by a narrow margin of three points.
The Arizona Wildcats hold a 29-26 advantage at the half, but the Sun Devils have not come close to playing up to their capabilities.
The guard play for the Sun Devils has been nothing short of sensational and has kept Arizona State in this game throughout the first half. Felix, Jonathan Gilling, and Jordan Bachynski have combined for just a single point in the first half, and the Wildcat defense has used an effective man-to-man scheme to slow down the Sun Devils' fast paced attack.
Point guard Mark Lyons and shooting guard Nick Johnson lead the Wildcats with nine points a piece, but Solomon Hill has been a thorn in the Sun Devils' side all afternoon with six points, four assists, two rebounds, and a defensive effort characterized by heart and intensity.
For the Sun Devils to pull off the upset, they'll need someone not named Carson to pick up the slack in the second half. The freshman phenom will be the focal point of Coach Sean Miller's halftime adjustments, and he already has three fouls to his name. Carson might be the best player on the floor, but the Wildcats have too much defensive talent to allow a lone Sun Devil player to win this game.
After the break, look for the Sun Devils to involve Carrick Felix in the offense, for the Wildcats to force their offense at Carson in hopes of pushing him deeper into foul trouble, and for another half of exciting basketball from Wells Fargo Arena.
5 Quick Thoughts At The Half
- The Wildcats are shooting 38 percent on 11-29 from the field while the Sun Devils are shooting 39 percent on 9-23.
- The Sun Devils have committed nine turnovers compared to just six for the Wildcats.
- The starting guards from both teams have combined for 41 of the 55 points scored this afternoon.
- Due to foul trouble, Jahii Carson has played just 15 of the 20 minutes despite Chris Colvin's absence from the lineup today
- The Sun Devils entered the bonus with 9:50 remaining in the first half, but failed to capitalize and took just nine free throws. The Wildcats have taken just seven so far.