Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Game Recap: Cornell 53, Arizona State 64

"So we'll keep it brief, Cornell is a very scrappy team; I think they played really hard. Their program is a couple seasons removed from the Sweet Sixteen."-- Herb Sendeak, Arizona State head coach.  Below, recaps from Tuesday's game...

Box Score (PDF)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Cornell's Shonn Miller had 13 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, but the Big Red couldn't overcome 23 turnovers and 35 percent shooting in dropping a 64-53 decision at unbeaten Arizona State on Tuesday evening at Wells Fargo Arena. The Big Red slipped to 1-4, while the Sun Devils improved to 3-0.

Miller hit 4-of-6 shots from the floor and added three steals in the loss. He grabbed all of his rebounds on the defensive end, helping Cornell to a 40-36 edge on the glass against its Pac-12 foe. The Big Red's defense continued to play at a high level, allowing just 35 percent shooting and 30 percent from 3-point range. Josh Figini had 12 points and both Devin Cherry and Eitan Chemerinski added seven. Nolan Cressler had six points and six rebounds in the loss.

Heralded sophomore Jahii Carson had 21 points for the Sun Devils, while 7-2 big man Jordan Bachynski nearly had a triple-double with eight points, 10 rebounds and seven blocked shots. Carrick Felix was also in double figures with 10 points. ASU had 14 steals and 11 blocks as a team.

Cornell led 25-22 at the half after a ferocious defensive effort in the first 20 minutes, overcoming 13 turnovers by limiting the Sun Devils to 28 percent shooting. But, in the second half, the Big Red couldn't overcome the miscues.

The home team's decisive run came to start the second half, a 7-0 spurt that covered the first 2:48 and flipped a three-point lead for the Big Red into a four-point Sun Devil advantage. The Big Red had three turnovers and a layup blocked during the run. Cornell settled down and got back within one twice, even briefly evening the score at 38-38 with just over 10 minutes to play. Arizona State answered with a backbreaking 13-4 run that ended the Big Red's chances at the upset. This time, Cornell's missed opportunities came on missed field goals, several good looks, and three Sun Devil 3-pointers in a five-minute span.

Arizona State extended the lead with late free throws in a contest that was a one possession game either way for three quarters of the contest.

In all, the halftime spurt actually was 10-0, as Arizona State went into the break with momentum after Cornell turned the ball over with five seconds left in the half on an offensive foul on Miller and the Big Red up six, its biggest lead of the game. Carson came down the floor on his own, pulled up from 22 feet and drained a trey, ASU's third of the half on 18 tries. It cut Cornell's lead in half and changed the feel of a game the Big Red seemingly was in control of.

The Big Red defended Arizona State well all night, continuing what has become more than a trend. Figini got the Big Red going, stealing a pass on the first possession, then nailed a 3-pointer to give Cornel la lead. Two minutes later the senior hit another jumped. Arizona State responded by going up four twice, but each time the Big Red responded. The first time, Peck showed his athleticism by driving right down the lane and throwing down a highlight-reel dunk. The second time, Cherry got in rhythm and nailed a jumper.

Five ties and three lead changes later, Cornell seemingly grabbed control. Down one with four minutes remaining, the Big Red started a 7-0 run. First, Cherry drove the lane and was fouled, where he hit both shots. Then Miller hit a pull-through jumper. After forcing a miss on the other end, Figini buried a 3-pointer and all of a sudden the Big Red was up 25-19 with less than a minute left. Cornell earned another defensive stop and rebounded with 27 seconds left, but a late turnover allowed the Sun Devils the last shot, and Carson did his part to half the advantage going into the break.

Cornell will look to snap its four-game losing skid when it meets Presbyterian in the consolation round of the 2012 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational on Friday, Nov. 23 at 1:30 p.m. at Orleans Arena.

Just two years removed from a Sweet 16 appearance, no one on the Arizona State Sun Devils basketball team was going to take the Cornell Big Red for granted. And it was good that they didn't. A poor first half from the field (.276) gave Big Red the halftime lead. If not for a huge transition in the second half, ASU probably would have lost this game.

"We usually come out to a great tipoff," freshman point guard Jahii Carson said following the game. "We are usually energized. I don't know what happened today. I know guys were missing a lot of shots that they normally make, but they were good shots."

"I thought we were really quick to settle," Coach Sendek said of his team's shot selection after the game. "I think we had too many possessions where we took a shot on one, maybe two passes, sometimes no passes. A disproportionately high number of our shots came from three. I don't necessarily think it was because they were giving us the three."

The Devils did appear to be open on many of their three-point field attempts, but a 3-18 start from behind the arc showed that they simply couldn't put the ball in the basket. ASU was on pace to shoot 36 threes in the game at the half, but the Devils came out in the second half looking much more methodical, driving the lane and pushing the ball up the floor. Much of this was due to how many turnovers they were able to cause. The 23 turnovers Cornell surrendered was the 4th most by any team during the Herb Sendek era.

A buzzer beating three to end the first half really ended the Devils' sluggishness, as they came out of the locker room looking refreshed and relaxed to begin the second period.

"Jahii really gave us momentum with the 3 pointer going into the break," Sendek said. "Then our guys really spring-boarded from there."

The Devils only shot nine more 3 pointers for the rest of the game, making five of them. This allowed Arizona State to finally break away from Cornell, gaining a sizable lead towards the end of the game. In the meantime, ASU tied a high from last season with 27 3-pointers attempted.

"I feel good about it," Sendek said of his team's 3-0 start to the season. "I think it's been a great start for us. We obviously face a great challenge this weekend. It's going to be perfectly timed for our team, it's going to tell us some more about ourselves. But I think we have got out from the gates exactly the way we wanted to."

This victory marked the 20th time the Sun Devils have made a comeback after trailing at halftime since Sendek became the coach. ASU probably wishes they didn't have to come back, but they'll take the big win heading into Las Vegas to play Arkansas this weekend.

TEMPE, ARIZ. — Jahii Carson scored 21 points, Jordan Bachynski blocked seven shots and Arizona State outlasted Cornell 64-53 Tuesday night in a disjointed game for both teams.

Arizona State (3-0) couldn’t get the ball inside early and spent most of the first half missing 3-pointers. The Sun Devils shot a little better in the second half to slowly pull away, making eight of 27 from 3-point range after missing 15 in the first half.

Bachynski had trouble handling the ball in the post most of the night, but made up for it with his defense and 10 rebounds. Carson was four of 14 from the floor, but made 11 of 14 free throws and had four assists.

Cornell (1-4) had another miserable night offensively, shooting 35 percent while turning it over 23 times.

Shonn Miller had 13 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Big Red.

The first meeting between Cornell and Arizona State was supposed to be a clash of styles.

Arizona State coach Herb Sendek wanted to push the pace this season to take advantage of Carson’s quickness. The Sun Devils have taken to it, scoring 79 points in their opening win against Central Arkansas and 97 to beat Florida A&M on Sunday, the third-highest point total in Sendek’s tenure.

Cornell barely eclipsed 100 points in its last two games and is shooting 35 percent on the season, including 28 percent from 3-point range.

The Big Red had a disappointing loss to Saint Peters, a team that won five games last season, and were crushed in its last game, shooting 26 percent in a 33-point loss to No. 22 Wisconsin.

But there was no butting styles between the Big Red and Sun Devils.

It was ugly on both sides.

Cornell continued its shooting woes against Arizona State, hitting 8 of 23 shots in the first half, adding to its problems with 13 turnovers.

Arizona State couldn’t take advantage, matching the Big Red clank for clank.

Unable to get the ball inside as Cornell collapsed on the paint, Arizona State spent most of the first half chucking up shots from the perimeter. The Sun Devils didn’t make many, going 3-for-18 from 3-point range.

Carson got his first one to go in five attempts from the arc at the buzzer of the ugly first half, pulling Arizona State within 25-22.

Cornell’s problems continued to start the second half.

The Big Red needed 3½ minutes to get their first points, turning it over four more times and missing six shots, including three that were swatted away by the Sun Devils.

Arizona State stopped casting up so many shots from the perimeter early and got a couple of 2-pointers to go in: Felix twice in transition and Bachynski powering in for a dunk.

It didn’t last.

The Sun Devils started missing again and the Big Red kept on doing it, neither team able to gain much traction.

Arizona State finally started to build a little cushion, using an 11-2 run to go up 47-40 with just over 7 minutes left.

The Sun Devils didn’t let Cornell get much closer and finished 5 of 9 from 3-point range in the second half.

TEMPE -- Whatever Arizona State men’s basketball coach Herb Sendek said in the locker room at halftime on Tuesday night, it worked.

After trailing 25-22 heading into the break, ASU outscored Cornell 42-28 in the second half to come away with a 64-53 win in front of 4,595 at Wells Fargo Arena.

“Our guys hung in there and battled on a night where we obviously struggled to make shots,” Sendek said.

Redshirt-freshman guard Jahii Carson led all scorers with 21 points despite shooting just 4 of 14, and also added four assists.

Carrick Felix scored 10 points, and Jon Gilling contributed nine points and six rebounds while Jordan Bachynski blocked seven shots and pulled down 10 rebounds.

Early on, ASU (3-0) looked nothing like the team that scored 49 and 45 first-half points in its opening two games.

The Sun Devils shot 8 of 29 (27.6 percent) from the field and were 3of18 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes, and wouldn’t have even cracked 20 points if not for a Carson 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

“We were a little stagnant in the first half,” Carson said.

“...In the second half, our momentum got going and we started hitting shots and we started to get the energy flowing.”

ASU indeed came out with a renewed fire to start the second half, scoring the first seven points of the half to take a 29-25 lead.

The Sun Devils’ press defense forced several Cornell turnovers in the backcourt, and the offense was able to find a rhythm.

“We definitely want to try to speed the game up when we press like that,” Carson said.

Cornell (1-4) reclaimed the lead once in the second half, but after senior guard Chris Colvin hit a 3 to make it 41-38 with 10:05 left, ASU stayed on top for good.

The first two games of the season for the Sun Devils included fast break play, some highflying bodies, but most importantly, a lot of baskets. The Sun Devils of Tuesday night, however, were unable to match the same style of play as a more fundamentally sound team in Cornell was in town. ASU refused to let that hinder them, though, as they escaped Wells Fargo Arena with a 64-53 victory over Big Red and a 3-0 record.

"I think it's been a great start for us--good momentum. I think we've gotten out of the gates exactly the way we wanted to," Coach Sendek said.

It did not take ASU long to realize they would have to make some adjustments, which came in the form of three-pointers. As Cornell packed the paint and tightened their defense, the Sun Devils were forced to unleash a plethora of three-pointers, many of which being open looks.

"They're a good defensive team," Coach Sendek said. "They did a good job of packing it in."

What started promising with a Jonathan Gilling three from the top of the key to kick-start the Devil scoring failed to materialize into anything more. In a half where even the easier lay-ins rolled out, the extra shooting distance hardly helped their cause.

ASU shot 18 three-pointers in the first half, making only three, including a buzzer-beater from Jahii Carson just before the half. In the first two games of the season the Sun Devils shot a total of 40 shots from beyond the arc. ASU shot just 28 percent in the first half to Cornell's 35 percent, but still only trailed at halftime 25-22. They ended the game with 27 three-point attempts.

"I thought we were really quick to settle. There were too many possessions where we took shots on one or two passes, sometimes no passes," said Coach Sendek.

Evan Gordon launched another three-pointer to start the half for the Sun Devils, but the second half tempo soon changed. On the following defensive possession Carrick Felixforced a steal and went coast-to-coast for a lay-in, right before Gordon forced a steal of his own, which ended with another Felix layup. Jordan Bachysnki, a non-factor in the first half, then made a powerful block on the defensive end before hustling back to his spot on offense where his teammates found him, which enabled him to throw down a forceful dunk, forcing Cornell to use a timeout to stop the run that saw ASU gain a three point advantage.

At this time, it was clear the Sun Devils came out of the locker room with newfound energy and a desire to make plays. They treated the crowd to a flurry of high-pressure defensive stops and relentless slashes to the basket, making a conscious effort to get the 7'2" Bachynski more involved.

Bachynski succeeded. He concluded the game with 8 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 blocks.

Oh, and another welcoming sight began in the second half--the Sun Devils started hitting their three-ball attempts. After the Gordon miss they then connected on 5-7 from downtown, gaining and extending the lead up to 51-42.

ASU started making shots, but they also keyed up the intensity on defense, forcing turnover after turnover from the Big Red, resulting in points on the other end. The Sun Devils scored 18 points off of Cornell's 23 turnovers. The 23 turnovers are the fourth-most forced turnovers all-time by an ASU team under Coach Sendek.

After controlling most of the second half, Carson essentially put an end to the game with a pull-up jumper from the right elbow before sinking two free throws to put the Sun Devils ahead by 13 with 1:27 left. Carson finished the game as the team leader in points with 21, while also racking up four assists and going 11-14 from the free throw line.

Felix had a career-high four steals.

Next up, Arizona State travels to Las Vegas for the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, where they are set to play Arkansas at 4:00 p.m. (PT) on Nov. 23.

Tuesday night’s bout between the Sun Devils and Cornell was a tale of two halves.

In the first half, the Sun Devils shot an abysmal 16.7 percent from behind the arc, and were trailing by three points at the break.

However, in the second half the Sun Devils emerged as a different team, dropping 42 points and coasting to a 64-53 win.

“I thought our guys hung in there and battled on a night where we obviously struggled to make shots,” head coach Herb Sendek said. “We had really good energy to start the second half.”

Jahii Carson led all scorers with a career high 21 points and also had three rebounds and four assists. He did most of his damage in the second half, scoring 15 points.

“We usually come out to a great tip off, we’re usually energized,” Carson said. “In the second half our momentum got going. We started hitting shots and we got the energy flowing…I like to get a lot of energy going in crunch time. I like to be in attack mode in the last five minutes.”

Both teams struggled to get things going in the first half. Cornell went 8-23 shooting in the first half and committed 13 turnovers. The Sun Devils struggled to get any productivity in the paint (Center Jordan Bachynski only had one point) and missed 15 three point shots. ASU held a 19-18 lead with just over four minutes left to play, but Cornell then went on a 7-0 run to get a 25-19 lead. As time expired, Carson was able to hit a three-pointer, which made the game 25-22 in favor of Cornell.

“A disproportionate number of our shots came from three. We were impatient and quick to settle in the first half,” Sendek said. “Jahii gave us momentum with the three-pointer going into the break.”

The momentum shift was apparent in the early minutes in the second half. Forward Carrick Felix got two quick buckets and Bachynski got a dunk to give ASU the 28-25 lead. Bachynski made his presence felt in the second half by recording seven points, seven rebounds, and six blocks. Cornell, however, remained resilient and was able to recapture a 38-36 lead with 11 minutes remaining in the game.

ASU was able to answer back with a Bachynski layup, a Jonathan Gilling three, and a Felix three to give them a 44-38 lead. Carson also made eight free throws in the last four minutes to close out the game, and give the Sun Devils the win.

Next up, the Sun Devils will face off against Arkansas on Friday as part of the Las Vegas Invitational. With three wins under their belt, Sendek has a good feeling heading into the tournament.

“It’s been a great start for us. [We have] good momentum and we obviously face a great challenge this weekend. It’s going to be perfectly timed for our team. We’ll learn some more about ourselves,” Sendek said. “But I think we’ve gotten out of the gates the way we’ve wanted to.”

It wasn’t pretty offensively, but ASU men’s basketball snagged a win Tuesday with its defense.

The Sun Devils (3-0) held Cornell to 35 percent shooting and forced 23 turnovers in their 64-53 win. It’s the fourth most turnovers forced under coach Herb Sendek.

ASU shot 35 percent in the game. Freshman point guard Jahii Carson had a game-high 21 points on 4-of-14 shooting. Eleven of his points came at the free-throw line. Cornell sophomore forward Shonn Miller led the Big Red (1-4) with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

“I thought our guys hung in there and battled on a night where we obviously struggled to make shots from the perimeter and from the free-throw line.” Sendek said. “But our defense once again had a very respectable showing.”

The Sun Devils had their worst offensive first half performance this season. The up-tempo offense Sendek implemented produced 49 and 45 first half points in two games. They scored half of that, 22, Tuesday. ASU shot 27.6 percent in the first half.

“We usually come out to a great tip-off and usually energized,” Carson said. “I don’t know what happened today.”

The Sun Devils were dreadful from outside, shooting 3-of-18 from three-point range. They had the same amount of turnovers, eight, as field goals.

“I thought we were impatient, and we were very quick to settle in the first half,” Sendek said. “We seemingly talked about it throughout the half and didn’t quite get the message.”

ASU was 5-of-11 inside the arc, but it couldn’t feed the post. Sun Devil senior center Jordan Bachynski was 0-for-3 in the half against 6-foot-9 senior forward Josh Figini from Cornell. He struggled to get position in the paint. Cornell also had weak side help ready when ASU made an entry pass to Bachynski, creating a difficult shot attempt.

Cornell wasn’t any better from the field at 34.8 percent. The Big Red had 13 turnovers in the first half, yet ASU only scored nine points off turnovers. Miller led the team with eight points at the half. The Big Red had a 22-17 rebounding edge despite a noticeable size differential and finished the game with four more rebounds, 40-36.

The Big Red saw its lead trimmed to 25-22 at halftime, when Carson drilled a three-pointer as time expired. ASU carried the momentum to start the second half on a 7-0 run. Senior wing Carrick Felix turned two turnovers into four points for the Sun Devils. He finished with 10 points and four steals. Bachynski followed a block on Cornell senior forward Errick Peck with a dunk, his first field goal in the game, on the opposite end. Bachynski finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks.

“We thrive off energy,” Carson said. “When we get stops, get rebounds and the big guys get blocks, I just think everybody’s energy level gets elevated, and that’s how we bury teams.

“We noticed it (the energy level) from the first media timeout. We were hyped in the timeout and came out and sustained it.”

Sendek elected to press Cornell, which helped sustain the energy from the run. ASU was effective in forcing turnovers in the press and played a big role in its 42-point second half performance.

”The last two games that we’ve had, I thought we really came out flat to start the second half,” Sendek said. “Given that recent history, coupled with the fact that I thought we needed to jump start ourselves given our three-point deficit, it just made sense to try that. Our guys did a really good job and it gave some momentum to start the second half.”

ASU is now 2-0 in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. The team will head to Las Vegas on Friday to face Arkansas at the Orleans Arena.

“It’s going to be perfectly timed for our team,” Sendek said. “It’s going to tell us more about ourselves, but I think we got out of the gates exactly the way we wanted to.”

In the third game of the 2012-13 season, ASU faced more adversity than they did in the first two contests, and the first half against Cornell was defined by an offensive struggle. However, thanks to their defense, most notably forcing 23 turnovers, the Sun Devils were able to extend their hot season start in dispatching the Big Red 64-53 on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

Led by the steady and splendid play of freshman point guard Jahii Carson and the continued improvement of junior center Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State was able to overcome a lethargic start and halftime deficit to rally past Cornell and remain perfect for the season with a 3-0 record.
Coming off a 97-point outburst in their previous game on Sunday, Arizona State looked more like a team poised to become an offensive threat playing in an up-tempo system that Sun Devils have longed for in Tempe.

On Tuesday, they more closely resembled the slow prodding team that has struggled the last two years. ASU managed to shoot just 28 percent in the first half against Cornell, consistently settling for the three point shot - ASU shot 8-27 from three point range for the game, including 3-18 in the first half - while failing to establish an inside presence like they had in their previous two games.

"We usually come out to a great tip-off, I don't know what happened today," Carson said after the game. "I know a lot of guys were missing shots that they normally make, but they were good shots. I just think we were starting to get down on ourselves when we started to miss shots but in the second half our momentum got going and we started hitting some shots and we started to get energy flowing."

After struggling to find any rhythm offensively throughout the first half, the Sun Devils faced a six point deficit heading into halftime to the stingy Big Red before Carson drained a pull-up three pointer as the buzzer sounded, pulling ASU within three points and providing hope that they could make a run in the second half, provided they could re-gain their form from last week on both ends of the floor.

"He (Sendek) said we were kind of stagnant on offense," Carson commented. "We were getting out-hustled on loose ball plays, 50-50 plays and that we actually got out-rebounded. We only had three offensive rebounds in the first half and we want to get, like, 12 or 13 offensive rebounds and get out and go.

“He said one of the reasons why we couldn’t push the basketball was because we weren't getting stops. When we can't get stops, we can't push the basketball and get out and get easy lay-ups like we like to do."

The Sun Devils opened up the second half with smothering defense while consistently feeding the ball into the paint for Bachynski to work himself into the flow of the game.

Playing with renewed energy and focus behind their frontcourt and backcourt leaders, ASU quickly regained the lead in the half's opening minutes and failed to relinquish it as they battled for the win.

"Cornell is a very scrappy team," Sendek said. "I think they play really hard. Their program knows how to win. They're a couple seasons removed from the Sweet Sixteen. I thought our guys hung in there and battled on a night where we obviously struggled to make shots from the perimeter and the free throw line.

"I thought we came out with really good energy to start the second half, which was the first time we had done that. In the previous two games, our opponents took the upper-hand to start the second half. Jahii gave us momentum with the three -pointer going into the breaking then our guys really spring boarded from there."

The Sun Devils used a full court defensive press on the Big Red to disrupt the flow of the game and to increase the tempo. On Tuesday, the Sun Devils forced Cornell into committing 23 team turnovers, a number of which led to easy baskets for ASU, quickly turning the momentum of the game in their favor in the second half. "We definitely to try to speed the game up when we press like that, get the guys tired and see how much shape they're in and I think they get a little fatigued and then we start to bury them when they're on defense, getting open shots because they can't play as hard," said Carson. "They were playing deny defense so they couldn't play as hard dent defense after we sped them up with the press." "We thrive off energy, so when we get stops and get rebounds and the big guy is getting blocks, I just think everybody's energy level gets elevated and that's how we bury teams." Carson carried the load for the Sun Devils in the second half, finishing with 21 points on 11-14 shooting from the free throw line while also dishing out four assists. It was the second consecutive game with 20 or more points for Carson, who despite sitting out last year, seems to be taking over the reins of the team early in the season as the team learns to play together, especially late in the game as Carson repeatedly made his way to the free throw to ice the victory for the Sun Devils.

"I like to try getting a lot of energy going in the last five minutes," Carson remarked. "I think that's the crunch time moment where we can buy teams or teams can bury us, and we don't want to get buried, so I try to take over the game a little bit defensively and try to attack when I have the ball offensively.

“My teammates know that can get us going and I can get everyone else going and once everybody else is getting going, I think we're dangerous. I just try to be in attack mode the last five minutes to seal the game."

And when he wasn't handling the scoring load himself, Carson was certainly creating for his teammates, helping them stay involved in the game.

Bachysnki finished with 8 points, 10 rebounds and 7 blocks - moving him up to eighth on the school record list for blocked shots with 83 - as he flirted with a triple-double for the second time this season. Senior Carrick Felix chipped in 10 points to go along with 4 rebounds and 4 steals while sophomore shooter Jonathan Gilling added 9 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals of his own in the win.

Carson knows that as he goes, so do the Sun Devils, yet it's also up to him to find ways to keep his teammates involved, especially as teams try to counter the Sun Devil offensive attack.

On Tuesday, Cornell attempted to hedge on the high screens between Carson and Bachynski, while showing help defense on the center down low.

"Now that some teams are starting to show and starting to switch, sometimes they got caught up on the switch and I'm going to have start knocking down the open three," Carson explained. "I'm going to have to start lobbing it up to the big and he's going to finish, so it depends on how the defense is playing. If they're playing me like they were playing me tonight, I like to try getting in the paint and finding Evan and Jon and Chris and Carrick on the wings and capitalize on those mistakes."

With their win over Cornell, the Sun Devils improved to 6-0 all-time versus Ivy League schools and to 3-0 on the year for the first time since the 2009-10 season. The competition level becomes significantly more challenging for Arizona State as they face Arkansas on Friday in Las Vegas as part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, followed by either Wisconsin or Creighton who will match up in the other contest of that tournament.

"I feel good about it," said Sendek on his team's performance so far this season. "I think it's been a great start for us; good momentum. We obviously face a great challenge this weekend. It's going to be perfectly timed for our team to tell us more about ourselves but I think we've gotten out of the gates exactly how we wanted to."

The Sun Devils opened the season with their third consecutive victory despite early struggles against a scrappy Cornell squad

It wasn't pretty, but it didn't have to be.

The Arizona State Sun Devils improved to 3-0 with a hard-fought 64-53 win over the Cornell Big Red. The Sun Devils pulled away with a victory after a rough offensive outing in which they shot just 27.6% from the field in the first half.

The Sun Devils came out firing, and missing, from beyond the arc as 18 of their 29 first half field goal attempts were taken from the perimeter. Arizona State made just three of their 18 long-range attempts, and head coach Herb Sendek voiced his displeasure with his team's offense.

"We were impatient and very quick to settle in the first half," Sendek said.

With the clock ticking down at the end of the first half, the Sun Devils had yet to reach the 20-point mark. Flashbacks to last season's stagnant offense began to creep into the minds of Arizona State fans, but Jahii Carson took over.

The Sun Devils forced a Big Red turnover with 4.8 seconds left in the half and Carson handled the ball on the ensuing inbound. The freshman point guard crossed over his defender and nailed a deep triple to pull the Sun Devils within three.

"When you're wide open and you got an open three, it's best you take it," Carson said.

Arizona State thrived off of the spark Carson provided and they came out hot in the second half. The Sun Devils opened on an 11-2 run and never looked back. Carson spearheaded the all out attack on the Big Red with 15 second half points including a 10-12 effort from the free throw line.

Carson led the offense while Jordan Bachynski held down the defensive end of the floor for the Sun Devils. Bachynski finished with seven blocks on the evening with six of those coming in the second half.

The Big Red found moderate success, but they struggled throughout the game in the low post. Cornell managed just 18 points in the paint and many of the Big Red post players resorted to jump shots. Forward Josh Figini accounted for 12 points, but six of those came from beyond the arc as he was reluctant to challenge Bachynski inside.

Cornell committed 23 turnovers and the Sun Devils used five Big Red giveaways in the first five minutes of the second half to seize the lead. Coach Herb Sendek was pleased with the Sun Devils' defensive output and noted their attention to detail on that end of the floor.

"Every single defensive number on the traditional stat sheet is a plus," Sendek said.

Despite a poor shooting performance, the Sun Devils climbed out of an early hole to come away with their third consecutive victory to open the season. A victory over Cornell shows that the Arizona State players haven't just adopted new schemes; they've adopted their attitudes.

Last season, a rough night on offense often spelled doom for the Devils. Tonight was a different story. Arizona State improved their record to 3-0 on the year because they proved that they could handle adversity.

"It's been a great start for us. Good momentum and we obviously face a great challenge this week," Sendek said.

Heading into Friday's match-up against Arkansas, Coach Sendek and the Sun Devils feel battle-tested and ready to take on the big dogs.


Anonymous said...

I dislike how no one in the media, like Delaney or Boulat, is really writing or even providing thoughts on the team. We are directionless, except for CBB's childish "everybody else sucks too!" excuse for sucking. It's becoming unbearable that there is no reasonable media voice trying to get to make sense of this in ways that aren't horribly irritating.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Delaney isn't really media anymore after leaving the Journal. He is more of a knowledgeable observer.

And Ed is probably overworked at the Journal and can't give all his attention to men's hoops.

And even if they did give their opinions, they are no more credible or accurate than anyone else. We are all just observers/people with our own opinions. Sometimes we are right, sometimes way off. For example, Delaney said last year (repeatedly on Twitter) that Jon Gray needed to stop shooting from the outside. Gray then promptly exploded to shoot over 40% beyond the arc and earned All Ivy.

Anonymous said...

I just want someone to ask the coach important questions and hopefully not receive BS answers. And, while Delaney might sometimes be off, he isn't illogical. You are.

I think no one wants to really ask questions right now because they know the answers will be bad because the team is doing BAD. You would think the coach would at least try to reassure folk.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Just how am I illogical? For months before the season I questioned this team's ability to shoot the basketball (and praised its defense). It is all documented and recorded on Twitter.

And if you can't shoot the basketball, you are limited in your ways you can score the ball.

Brian Delaney observed a few of the practices. He himself agreed that this team had a "high ceiling" based on its defense, depth and athleticism.

So... now... exactly what questions do you want to ask of Bill Courtney?

Anticipating what you'd ask, here is an obvious answer:

At the end of the day, Bill believes his system will work, regardless of what YOU think or what other fan(s) think.

You can kick and scream about it. But Bill seems to believe he is running the right type of offense and defense. He believes in his strategy, he believes in his guys.

And CBB believes in Bill just as we believed in Steve Donahue in his darkest years.

If you listen to B.C., his opinion is that the team is not executing his game plan. (evidence: benching Errick) Does he think he needs more help/personnel? Sure, to some degree. We can all use a few more superstars. But he believes he has enough talent to run his system (if he didn't, he wouldn't run it) and he wants his guys to execute that system.

Anonymous said...

Any update on Bunce's rehab? We could really, really use his size. It would also be good to get him some floor time before league play, when the games really start to count. I may be delusional given the past four games, but I'm still holding out hope that we'll contend for the league title.

br2 said...

Never give up that hope. This team has talent. Just needs to come together a bit more. Needs a system to play under. Needs to understand that system. But, they've got that talent for sure.

Anonymous said...

I'm not really surprised by the Columbia Villanova score. I also expect Dartmouth to bounce back. I really like the two coaches, Kyle Smith and Paul Cormier, and the attitudes of their players. When they are not doing very well, they just come out and say it, sometimes in a shockingly blunt manner. That one Dartmouth player even apologized to fans. It shows that internally, they have greatly raised their standards, whether or not they've actually physically met it. Even when the class of 2010 wasn't beating beating BCS schools, you could tell by their internal rearrangement of what qualified as good had gone beyond the typical Ivy League acceptance of being cupcakes and making do with being okay only relative to other cupcakes. They want to be legit by any standard, and call bad losses to mid-majors precisely what they are. It's a healthy and mature dose of reality, and seeing the landscape realistically has to be the healthiest way of approaching it.

Unknown said...

I couldn't see the game. but wasn't this a bit of a moral victory? They are a decent PAC 12 team. We were ahead at the half. Then the wheels came off in the 2nd. This is a pretty typical result for an over-achieving Ivy League team against an upper echelon major conference opponent.

I'm as critical of BC's system as anyone, but I was happy to see Cornell compete hard on the road in this game. In the long history of Cornell basketball (over 40 years of which I've witnessed) 2010 was the absolute pinnacle. It isn't going to keep happening over and over. Doesn't Penn for instance have the same record right now?

This team is MUCH better than many previous iterations. If they weren't we wouldn't all be reading this blog. BC's system is frustrating to watch - but that is in comparison to the extreme fluidity that the 2010 group played with.

As a comparison, I was at the tourney game when the 2010 group were sophs against a just decent Stanford team. They got crushed.

And homer journalists are just that. There has never been a particularly critical voice in Ithaca that I can remember, even in the dark years (Barton Hall? Snow blowing on the floor anyone?) Why should there be? They're just college kids doing their best. That's why it' the Ivy's - not the SEC, or the NBA.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 2:02. I think we as fans just want to know if Coach BC is realistic in our losses as a whole team. Players and coaches included because no matter how great the talent is on a team, they need a coach that can bring them together to work at their strengths and direct them on winning. This is evident with LA Lakers.

I don't think its a bad thing to question what is going on with the team but the manner in which it is occuring on this blog borders on being disrepectful to the team and coaches.

I am just hoping that when the game film is reviewed that the coaches are as aware of their mistakes as they are of the players mistakes. This will only help everyone.

Anonymous said...

This team and its style of play will be very difficult to beat in Ivy play.

Anonymous said...

pack the zone and watch us brick shots all day long. Sure, we'll hold the opposing team to 60 pts on 35% shooting, but it won't matter when we only score 55pts on 30% shooting with 20 turnovers

Anonymous said...

The "this is the Ivy League not the SEC" attitude is a little sad. It's going around ... "losing to Wisconsin by 30 is perfectly okay" ... that attitude. Blech. I find it a pity that after what Wittman and them achieved, a lot of people are fine with going back to a dull league and being satisfied with teams that are cupcakes outside the league. I guess it's okay; just don't expect fan interest. Expect it to go back to a few dozen people in the stands.

As for whether Arizona St. is a decent team, "computers" say they are average at best. Sagarin has them about 140, Pomeroy at about 200, as low as 220 before they played Cornell.

The crazy thing is that I agree with Anon 9:07: this current (awful) style of play that can't get things done outside the conference play will probably pull off 6 to 8 wins within the Ivy. Don't know how I'll feel. Again, find it sad to return to cupcake, nationally irrelevant teams, especially when Harvard, Princeton, and now Columbia would probably never accept that. And it was Cornell who changed the standards, making this whole current situation even more painful that it died so quickly and fans were ready to shrug "oh well", especially when we got such nice recruits out of it.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little concerned that our "system" does not promote more movement, and does not seem to give us open shots (anywhere) Of course "athleticism" (read dunking and blocking) is good, but in my opinion, teamwork and movement work better.