ASU basketball is officially underway, and the 2012-2013 campaign has begun 1-0 after defeating Central Arkansas 76-58. Although, it was not smooth sailing early on.
The Bears, lead by coach Corliss Williamson, had Sun Devil fans on upset alert through the majority of first half play. ASU went on to close the half in dominant fashion, ending on a 16-0 run for a 49-31 lead.
Jahii Carson and Evan Gordon both had solid debuts, while Jordan Bachynski also did significant damage. Carson overcame a case of jitters and some sloppy play, accumulating 14 points and five assists.
"I think I played pretty well, I tried to get my teammates on early," Carson said. "I was just overwhelmed the whole day and just excited."
Conversely, ASU's offense did appear stagnant in the opening minutes. On the night, ASU struggled from the field shooting a pedestrian 44 percent.
"There were too many opportunities tonight where we were inpatient and settled," Sendek said.
Defensively, the Devils were aided by 19 Central Arkansas turnovers yet their consistent effort was a good omen. Evan Gordon's stealth quick hands resulted in five steals, truly disrupting the Bears flow.
"We have a chance to be a very good defensive team," Coach Sendek said. "I think we can be a good man-to-man team, but we certainly aren't there yet."
Jordan Bachynski won tonight's most improved award, sporting a double double with 17 points, 11 rebounds and an nine blocked shots. The "Stormin' Mormon's" nine swats are a school record, coming up slightly shy of triple-double accolades. Bachynski picked up right where he left off last year, and is clearly more comfortable in the man-man defensive scheme.
"I just played hard and did what I could for my team," Bachynski said. "My goal is to come in and be aggressive, get every board that is close to me."
Regarding freshman, big man Eric Jacobsen grabbed a rather surprising 13 minutes. Jacobsen, the Arizona product out of Hamilton high school, did not post tremendous stats but provided quality minutes off the bench.
Coach Sendek throughout game one used a multitude of different lineups. At times, he paired two bigs—Bachynski and Jacobsen—together, surrounded by three guards. Expect similar switches and ideas being tossed around during non-conference play.
"We are still in flux, and a lot of it is going to depend on the opponent," Sendek said.
Despite the nice outing, fans cannot get overjoyed, Central Arkansas is practically inept. ASU's next contest won't be until November 18, as the Devils battle Florida A&M in the Las Vegas Invitational.
"We wanted to get off to a good start, we wanted to make sure we took care of business at home," Sendek said. "There is so much that we will be able to digest from tonight, and we need good quality practice time."
Other Game Notes
- Carrick Felix was rather quiet, only scoring 7 points.
- Chris Colvin played under control, clean basketball.
- Jonathan Gilling went 3-7 from distance, totaling 11 points.
- ASU needs to improve rebounding, barely out boarded Central Arksans despite their tallest player being 6-foot-7.
- Big men looked active and light on their feet
- Sun Devils struggled from the charity stripe, 12-23 on the night.
- Freshman Kenny Martin logged 0 minutes
- Sendek used 9 players, will be interesting to monitor how many stay in the rotation going forward.
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