Tuesday, November 20, 2012

AZ Central Sports Previews Cornell at ASU

At 2-0 for the first time in three years, Arizona State men’s basketball has had little trouble incorporating Jahii Carson into the offense and adjusting to the increased tempo coach Herb Sendek promised to implement before the season.

Weak non-conference schedule or not, ASU has displayed a cohesiveness and passion that had been lacking in previous years.

“The guys are really trying to make each other better and play together,” Sendek said Sunday after the Sun Devils’ 97-70 win over Florida A&M. “I think this group genuinely likes each other, which carries over to the court.”

The 97 points was the third-most ASU has scored in Sendek’s seven seasons, and five players scored in double figures in both games, the first time that has happened in consecutive contests since 2008.

Carson has looked right at home, leading the team in scoring with 17.5 points per game, and Sendek said the redshirt-freshman is contributing as expected thus far.

“He’s had a tremendous impact,” Sendek said of Carson. “He’s incredibly unselfish. He just wants to help us win. We really believe in him, we have a lot of faith in him, we love him.”

ASU’s next test comes Tuesday against Cornell, a team the Sun Devils have never played.

The Big Red are 1-3 to open the season but have held opponents under 40 percent shooting from the field, so the points may be a little more difficult to come by for ASU, which has posted a 48.8 percent mark in its two games.

On the other side of the ball, Cornell hasn’t scored more than 68 points in any game this season, and averages just 58.8.

After facing Cornell, ASU will hit the road for the first time this season as it travels to Las Vegas for two games as part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.

The Sun Devils meet Arkansas on Friday, and will face either Wisconsin or Creighton Saturday.

ASU update
The Sun Devils (2-0) won their first two games of the season for the first time since 2009-10, when they started 4-0. ... ASU has outscored its two opponents 94-63 in the first half. ... Redshirt-freshman guard Jahii Carson leads the team with 17.5 points and 6.0 assists per game. ... ASU has never played Cornell, but is 5-0 against the Ivy League.

Cornell update
The Big Red (1-3) come off a 73-40 road loss to Wisconsin on Sunday. ... The team is shooting 35.5 percent from the field, and holding opponents to 39.7 percent. ... Sophomore guard Devin Cherry leads all scorers with 10.3 points per game. ... Sophomore forward Deion Giddens played at Surprise Willow Canyon High. ... Cornell is 2-10 all-time against Pac-12 teams, and hasn’t won a game against the conference since 1992.

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