The Arizona State Sun Devils improved to 2-0 on Sunday with a 97-70 victory over the Florida A&M Rattlers. It was not all pretty for the Sun Devils, who saw a 19 point lead shrink to five in the second half.
However, ASU overcame some adversity and now is undefeated through two games for the first time since the 2009-2010 season. Here is what I took out of Sunday's victory.
The Sun Devils showed improvement from season opener
The two biggest arenas of improvement that I saw were free throw shooting and rebounding. Against Central Arkansas, the Sun Devils shot just 13-25 from the free throw line. Yesterday Arizona State shot 22-26 from the line. Jahii Carson shot 6-7 from the line after only shooting 3-6 in the season opener.
Herb Sendek focused on rebounding during the week of practice leading up to the Florida A&M contest. The Sun Devils showed team rebounding on Sunday, as 11 players grabbed at least one rebound, led by Jonathan Gilling with 15. Chris Colvin grabbed six rebounds off the bench. Against Central Arkansas, ASU gave up 20 offensive rebounds. The Sun Devils gave up 14 against Florida A&M, yes it is not ideal but it is an improvement.
Chris Colvin is to Arizona State as James Harden was to Oklahoma City
Yes I know that is a big comparison, but Colvin brings energy on both sides of the ball when he comes into the game. Colvin scored 12 points off the bench against Florida A&M, this after he scored 11 against Central Arkansas. Colvin also grabbed six rebounds and dished three assists. He plays starter minutes and brings energy to the lineup when he enters the game.
The Sun Devils will go through scoring slumps during games
For most of the first half, the Sun Devils were holding a comfortable lead against the Rattlers. However in the second half ASU hit a cold spell and Florida A&M cut the lead down to five. At one point, ASU was shooting 27% from the field in the second half.
ASU will have its moments when they go cold from the field, because they rely so much on the outside shot. The Sun Devils did a good job bouncing back and closing the game out, however against a tougher opponent they might not be so lucky.