In Arizona State’s win over Arizona on Sunday, the Sun Devils’ main attribution to the win was a goal they’ve been trying to attain all season long: lowering the turnover rate.
ASU lost the ball only 10 times in 40 minutes but have an average of 16 per game.
“We’ve been talking about it all year; we have to get our turnovers down, and sure enough Sunday we had 10 turnovers,” ASU head coach Herb Sendek told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Tuesday. “We’ve been talking about getting it in the range of 12-10, and those extra possessions are important. We’ve been turning the basketball over anywhere from 16 to 20.”
The Sun Devils also fared better at the free throw line than the Wildcats with a .917 percentage of shots made compared with Arizona’s .833.
The win put the Wildcats’ future in jeopardy, who may now have to win the Pac-12 tournament in order to advance to the NCAA tournament. But a win over the school rival won’t deter Sedek’s focus for the game against Stanford.
“In all honesty, I haven’t spent a second thinking about it. We’ve turned the page, and my focus is on Arizona State and getting us ready to play Stanford on Wednesday,” Sendek said. “The rivalry is fun for our fans, and our team was thrilled to be able to get the win on Sunday. We rejoice together with our fans, but at the same time, the sun came up Monday. Rather than thinking about the impact on our opponent, we gotta feel about ‘what’s the impact for us,’ and ‘what do we got to do to get ready for the next game.'”
ASU (10-20) will have to concentrate on the same fundamentals against Stanford (20-10), which Sendek knows will be a physical struggle.
“Right now, they’re really thriving on contact, and putting a body on people, whether it’s on a block out, whether it’s in a post area defense. We can’t get caught off-guard with the physical nature of their play right now,” Sendek said.
Sendek also enforced that making their shots will have to be as accurate as Sunday’s percentage of .558, unlike their game average of .456 percent.
“As always, the preparation has to be from the inside out. It’s more about us than any particular opponent,” Sendek said. “And at this point with just two days to prepare this late in the season, we’re not going to make wholesale changes regardless of who we play, we just got to do what we do as well as we can do it.”