Tipoff: 12p.m. MT/1 p.m. CT
Television: SEC Networks
ASU bounced back in a big way Wednesday defeating UNLV at home 77-55 behind a double-double from Eric Jacobsen after dropping two games in Kansas City to Maryland and Alabama then squeaking by Colgate. Saturday brings on the first true road game challenge of the season against Texas A&M. Kodi Justice also contributed 13 points, six assists and five rebounds. Junior college transfer Gerry Blakes remains the Sun Devils' top scorer, averaging 12.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Jacobsen isn't far behind, averaging 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
Sun Devil head coach Herb Sendek earned his 400th career win against UNLV Wednesday, becoming the third youngest active head coach to reach the mark behind Billy Donovan and Steve Alford. ASU's 15-point comeback against the Runnin' Rebels was the third biggest comeback in the Sendek era.
Texas A&M update:
Billy Kennedy's Aggies squad is 5-1 and on a four game win streak. The one loss was in the team's first game of the season against Dayton 55-53 in the Puerto Rico tip-off. Most recently, the Aggies took care of Sam Houston State 66-63, needing a last second three to banish the Bearkats. Texas A&M's biggest win to date came against New Mexico.
Danuel House, a 6-foot-7 junior guard, is averaging 13.7 points a game this season. Fellow 6-foot-7 junior and Southern Methodist transfer Jalen Jones is averaging 12.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game through five contests. Both men like to work inside the three-point arc. Dishing the ball to them will be 6-foot-5 junior guard Alex Caruso who is averaging an impressive 7.4 assists per game.
Keys to Victory:
1. Keep sharing:
ASU has assisted on 108 of 167 made baskets this season.The Aggies play stout defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 36.1 percent from the field and 26 percent from three. With the Sun Devils relying so much on shots from behind the arc early in the season, they're going to need to find alternative ways to get players open and that starts with not letting the ball stick and executing sets well.
2. Stay in it early
The Sun Devils came back from down 15 points against UNLV, but it shouldn't become a trend against better competition. ASU has to keep their head on early in this one to keep it competitive. One way to do this is to get Eric Jacobsen involved early. He outweighs anybody on Texas A&M that are his size by at least 25 pounds. If Jacobsen can continue to be physical and have confidence in his own play, then he should have success again.
3. If it's close late, put em on the line
While ASU is only shooting 66 percent from the free throw line this season, they made 12 of 14 against UNLV. The Aggies were 11 of 22 against Sam Houston State and only shooting 64 percent from the charity stripe this season. Clearly they have a tendency to miss free throws, so if the game comes down to fouling, don't let the play develop, just put them in a pressure situation on the free throw line.
Prediction: ASU- 75 Texas A&M-68