Short-handed ASU travels to Washington schools
TEMPE – The ASU Sun Devils head north on a two-game road trip to take on Washington St. on Thursday and Washington on Saturday and looking to get their season turned around.
“We put ourselves in this situation so we’ve got to get ourselves out,” said guard Jamelle McMillan.
ASU(9-8, 1-4 in the PAC-10) is coming off a loss to the rival Arizona Wildcats last week and will still be shorthanded this weekend.
Freshman guard Chanse Creekmur will miss the trip because of the passing of his grandmother and guards Brandon Dunson and Carrick Felix will also be out because of illness.
The team will especially miss Felix who has been playing well of late, averaging 13.6 points in his last five games.
Felix and Dunson have missed practice all week.
Senior forward Rihards Kuksiks (illness) has also missed practice time this week but did make the trip.
All the injuries and illnesses have made it difficult for the Sun Devils to find any rhythm as a unit.
“I don’t think we’ve had the entire roster all year,” said McMillan.
However, ASU’s achilles’ heel lately has been their lack of rebounding.
The Sun Devils are getting out-rebounded by almost 12 boards a game in conference play and they’ve been out-rebounded in their last six games overall.
“The main thing is we’ve got to find our block out assignments and find a way to rebound the ball. Until we’re able to do that, we’re going to struggle,” said McMillan.
ASU has started to see some emergence from 7-foot-2 freshman Jordan Bachynski who had a season-high four block shots against Arizona.
“Being able to alter shots and block shots is just as important as anything else because stopping two points is just as good as getting two points,” said Bachynski.
The 21-year-old is just now getting back into basketball shape and finding his role on the team after being away on his mission and away from the game for the past two years.
“I need to be willing to play whatever role coach Sendek needs me to play,” said Bachynski.
The Sun Devils know that no matter the mounting injuries and absent players the team is running out of time to get it together and start winning games.
“As a team, we’ve had enough. We’re ready to start winning and start putting everything behind us and really perform,” said Bachynski.
The Sun Devils swept Washington St. last year and split with Washington.
Arizona Sports’ Craig Grialou contributed to this report.