The Sun Devils fell into some all-too-familiar bad habits Saturday afternoon against Colorado at Wells Fargo Arena, losing for the second time this season to the Buffaloes 63-49. Trent Lockett and Jonathan Gilling lead the way for the Devils with 10 and 11 points respectively but two other numbers really told the tale: 18 turnovers and a 35.8 shooting percentage. Colorado Freshman guard Spencer Dinwiddie lead all scorers with 15 points.
"Our biggest problem once again was our turnovers," Head Coach Herb Sendek said. "Coupled with the inability to put the ball in the basket...it really put a tremendous burden on our defense."
It all seemed to start when the red-hot Jordan Bachynski (averaging 11 points, seven rebounds and 2.2 blocks a game over the past six contests) picked up two quick fouls in less than five minutes. After subbing out, the offense became lifeless, forcing shots near the end of the shot clock and making bad decisions (12 turnovers in the first half).
"I thought the ball really did stick too much," Sendek said. "We didn't have fluid ball movement today. It certainly wasn't by design."
The Buffs continued to build on the 7-0 run they ended the first twenty minutes with by emerging from the locker room in attack mode, going right at Bachynski and causing him to pick up his third and fourth fouls in the first 1:34.
"[Bachynski] really never got into the flow," Sendek said. "His foul troubled changed some things for us tonight."
"Not having [Bachynski] in there hurt us," Lockett said. "He's got to play smarter; and he knows that."
From there, the Devils still managed to hang around due to some solid half court defense but ultimately the shots were never falling consistently enough to pull off any sort of substantial comeback. Colorado's double-digit lead was cut to as little as eight down the stretch yet every time the Devils would begin to threaten, the Buffs would get some easy points off free throws, killing the momentum. Really though, fans still can't help but wonder if the results might be closer if the Devils could just be more careful with the ball.
"Tonight is a microcosm of our season," Sendek said. "We have not found a way to get that [turnover] number to a more manageable size. We just didn't give ourselves a chance."
Next up for the Devils (8-17) is their final road trip of the season as they head north to take on the Washington Huskies and the Washington St. Cougars before heading back home to end the year with three-game home stand.
Other Game Notes:
- Lockett continues to bring his full intensity as he battles through the lingering effects of his ankle injury but it's evident that he's still not 100%. Lockett says that his explosiveness around the basket still isn't fully there but he feels he's getting better with each day that passes.
- Chris Colvin had almost as bad of a first half as you can have as a point guard, registering zero points and three turnovers to just one assist. He did manage though to bounce back slightly in the second, finishing with five points and chipping in four more assists to only one turnover. However, this team will never cut down on it's turnover problem until he learns to quit telegraphing his passes so much and stops taking at least one five-second violation a game.
- Sendek's big lineup (Lockett, Carrick Felix, Gilling, Kyle Cain and Bachynski) suffered it's second straight loss in as many chances. Odds are this experiment will be coming to an end sooner rather than later even with the limited options on the bench.