The ASU-Dartmouth clash presented drastically different styles of play, as the Devil's attempt to push tempo while the Big Green feature a slow half court Princeton-style attack. Both teams were rather sloppy and missed easy opportunities, yet Coach Herb Sendek's ball club overcame those issues, grabbing a 61-42 win.
All season long ASU has showcased great offensive explosion, but the same couldn't be said today. Despite getting numerous quality open looks, the team only shot 2-14 from distance.
"Offensively we certainly didn't play in a manner that would give us very much breathing room," Coach Sendek said. "We really struggled shooting 3's, two games in a row now."
In addition, Sendek believes the free throw woes (7-13 on the night) provided unneeded pressure. On the flip side, ASU's defense stepped up big time. Dartmouth connected on a mere 33 percent of their attempts, failing to find any fluidity or consistent points.
Throughout most of the contest, ASU seemed to have a pretty solid strangle hold. Conversely, the Devil's never quite slammed the door, allowing Paul Comier's team to linger around.
"It's a huge concern, we can't start off slow and let the other team punch us first," Carrick Felix said about letting opposing team's stay alive. "Every game is going to be a battle."
ASU's typical 1-2 punch of Jahii Carson and Carrick Felix led the way. Carson ended up with 18 points and six dimes, and Felix sported 13 points, 14 rebounds, and a career high five blocks.
"I thought Carrick's performance was tremendous because of the energy and effort," Sendek said. "Double-double, he is a staff sheet stuffer."
Down the stretch Felix took over, whether it was diving for loose balls or nailing beauitful tear drops. In the midst of closely contested action, Felix feels the need to rise up as one of the senior's and captains.
"I always come through in the clutch time," Felix said. "Just putting in the work during the summer and just my teammates giving me the confidence to play my game."
Freshman Kenny Martin logged an unexpected 10 minutes, posting two points and three boards. Martin appeared active and aggressive during his brief stints into action.
"I was also pleased to be able to get Kenny Martin into the game," Sendek said on Martin. "Still really believe he has outstanding potential for us."
Interestingly, Sendek sent out a couple unusual and rare lineup combinations. At times, Felix got minutes at shooting guard and Bachynski-Jacobsen even co-existed. The bigger personnel helped ASU outrebound Dartmouth 42-32.
"I thought it brought some physical play by having all those tress out there," Felix said on the lineup changes. "We kind of scared the other team, knowing that they can't get easy shots. I definitely feel like that was good lineup Coach mixed up."
Looking ahead, ASU faces Texas Tech on December 22nd, marking the team's first true road contest.
"People started underestimating us again, and I think we can go on the road and get a nice win against Texas Tech," Jahii Carson said.