Bruins are playing a classic trap game this Thursday night against an ASU team which is in dire straits. The Sun Devils, after their latest loss to the Beavers (at home), are 0-6 in the Pac-10. They are on the verge of matching their worst conference start since the '00-01 when they started the conference 0-7.
It's gotten so bad for the Sun Devils that this past week their head coach - Herb Sendek (who got out of Raleigh before getting canned) - was taking solace over holding the Ducks to 60 points in a 55-60 loss on their home court. They then blew a half time lead over the then 0-4 Beavers, shooting extremely poorly in the second half. From the Arizona Republic:
"We continue to have a hard time doing what Dr. Naismith intended, and that's put the ball in the basket," said Sendek, whose recruiting class for next season is supposed to include prospects who can do just that.
Against Oregon State, ASU had no room for error, even after Beavers center Kyle Jeffers fouled out during the first two minutes of the second half. Jeffers, who allegedly spit on a fan Thursday at Arizona, was gone.
Other than the notable exception of Jeff Pendergraph, so was ASU's offense. Pendergraph, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds, was 5 for 5 from the floor after halftime. His teammates were 5 for 28.
Anyways, more on ASU's roster report via Sportsline:
--Senior F Serge Angounou, who had a four-game stretch in December where he averaged 15.5 ppg, totaled just 10 points in four games through the Oregon weekend. He did collect 12 rebounds in the loss to Oregon State.
--Sophomore F Sylvester Seay, a starter at the end of last season, has been on the floor for just two minutes over the past five games. Sendek said he's playing the players he believes gives ASU the best chance of winning.
As mentioned above, this has all the making of a trap game. ASU is actually a pretty solid defensive team giving up only 63.9 points a game. So the Bruins cannot afford to take these guys lightly and expect to come in and enjoy a cakewalk against a 6-11 squad. I am sure by now they are fully aware that day in and day out they are going to get the best shot of every opponent. Keep in mind our guys also had a very tough game against a 7-11 (1-8 in the Pac-10) Devils team last year at Pauley, which remained fairly close until the last minutes of the game. And it will not be a surprise if we see another inspired efforts from the Devils.
So the Bruins will have to come out be aggressive on defense, and put a lot of pressure on ASU's young backcourt. If they can play the same lock down defense which they played during the closing stretches of their last game, they are going to be fine, and keep themselves at the top of the conference.
We will have obviously have more on this game before Thursday night.