Much like their season opener, Arizona State once again showcased their new high-tempo style of play against the Florida A&M Rattlers and showed improvement from last week improving their shooting percentage from 40 50 percent.
“I saw definite improvement’” Sun Devil Head Coach Herb Sendek remarked. “I was not thrilled with our shot selection in the first game. I thought for the most part today we were better. In a weeks time there was some growth in that area.”
Junior center Jordan Bachynski, coming off of a solid season opening performance, jump-started the offense with a baseline jumper followed by a layup that ensued the scoring clinic in the first half, and putting the Sun Devils ahead by as many as 19 points with eight minutes left in the first half.
“I think we have a lot of things going great for us.” Bachynski said. “It was brought up that we had five guys in double figures, and that’s team basketball. We don’t just have one star, it’s us playing together and playing as one unit.”
Settling into his new 6th man role with much ease, senior guard Chris Colvin led the team with 12 points in the first half going 2-2 from three-point range and snagging four rebounds.
“If you guys watch basketball, the best 6th man was a Sun Devil,” Colvin remarked mentioning former ASU great James Harden. “I don’t mind it. I’ll do whatever coach asks me to do. I will just go in and help my team any way.”
ASU defensively held Florida A&M to a dismal 34.5 percent shooting throughout the first half and scoring 22 points off forced turnovers. Sophomore Jonathan Gilling, who posted a double-double on the day, had 13 points to along with his game-high 15 rebounds.
“That’s unreal.” Bachynski commented. “Jon did a very good job.”
Despite ASU controlling the flow of the game throughout the first half, Florida A&M kept it interesting at Wells Fargo Arena after the teams took to the floor to start the second half. The Rattlers behind their leading scorer Jamie Adams, who ended the game with 24 points, closed the gap and brought them within as little as six points with 13 minutes remaining in the game.
“Our opponent had some very difficult guards to defend.” Sendek commented. “Adams is a terrific player. He can shoot with range, is quick off the dribble. Dealing with him [Adams] off of ball-screens was a nightmare.”
“I don’t think we did too good of cutting out their heart which was No. 3” Colvin added regarding Adams. “He [Reggie Adams] got a lot of buckets coming down when shooting the ball.”
It wasn’t long before ASU made adjustments that led to the unleashing of freshman Jahii Carson, who ultimately pushed open the lead.
Carson, who made his long awaited Sun Devil appearance last Sunday against Central Arkansas, came up big for the ASU in the second half, scoring 16 of his total team-high 20 points in that period. The freshman also paced the Sun Devils with seven assists.
“He is our leader.” Bachynski said of Carson. “He distributes the ball really well, he sees the floor really well. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again he is a young Steve Nash. He can get it to the hole. He can score. And he had seven assists today and that is great. He is really coming to his own.”
ASU had over a week to prepare for the Florida A&M contest, but won’t have that luxury as they are set to host a 1-3 Cornell squad on Tuesday night.
“It was a good team effort,” Coach Sendek said. “We’ll try to build on this with a quick turn around for Tuesday night.”