Lack of execution plagues Sun Devils in loss

In the midst of the controversial search for a new head coach for the ASU football program, Sun Devil fans were looking for some good news to come out of ASU athletics, possibly from the maroon and gold basketball squad. Unfortunately, tonight at Wells Fargo Arena, the Sun Devils had a less than impressive performance against the Nevada Wolf Pack, falling short 69-61.

"Not taking anything away from Nevada," head coach Herb Sendek began. "But I was once again really disappointed in our team's play this evening. I thought offensively, we once again victimized ourselves with inexcusable turnovers (10 in the second half, 16 for the game), I thought our shot selection was as bad as it's been all year and I don't think we finished when we did have easy baskets. We probably missed five layups in the game.

"We did not do a good job of executing our man or our zone offense. In fact, there were some possessions where I don't think when we were going away from our bench that we even recognized what defense they were in and communicated with each other to the proper set. I thought offensively we weren't in sync and did a poor job. Defensively, we didn't play with the kind of chip and tenacity that our standards would expect. I don't think we played inspired basketball and I don't think we played smart basketball. I'm very disappointed in our basketball team."

"It all came down to effort and execution," said leading ASU scorer Carrick Felix who posted 15 points. "Nevada went out there, played smart and played together. We just have to go practice and figure things out. Just continue to work."

There were some glimpses of the real abilities of the maroon and gold team, but ultimately those short moments were not enough. After trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half, ASU ended the half with a 29-27 lead, and held an advantage for nearly the first ten minutes of the second half. They tied the game at 49-49 with 7:12 left, but that is as close as they would near a comeback win.

"We played with more energy," Sendek said. "Carrick got the dunk in transition, the crowd rose to their feet and actually cheered and the guys played hard for a few minutes. It's really simple, you have to play with great energy and effort all the time unless you're talent quotient is so overwhelming that you can take pockets off.

"We obviously don't have an overwhelming talent quotient so we've got to be tenacious and simultaneously smart and we were neither."

Sendek, who did not hesitate to express his disappointment with his team's performance, simplified what he considers one of the most detrimental aspects of the maroon and gold's game: poor shot selection.

"Shot selection boils down to one of two things," Sendek explained. "One, we're not being smart or you're being selfish. Our guys know from the way they've been coached what constitutes a good shot so I'm not letting them off the hook. They're either not playing smart or their playing selfishly and I thought our shot selection, as a byproduct of our execution was terrible.

"We had strings when we turned the ball over and then took a bad shot, turned the ball over and took a bad shot. Take a bad shot, you're either not playing smart or you're playing for yourself."

"I think we had a little lack of focus," Felix commented. "We need to continue and figure some things out, but I think we will be fine. We will continue t work hard and learn from our mistakes."

The loss, that was the result of a poor showing for the Sun Devils, came as a surprise to many who witnessed their performance on the road against Tulsa. The maroon and gold beat the Golden Hurricanes 67-64 during one of their best-played games this season.

"I was really encouraged after the Tulsa game," Sendek commented. "We played a good basketball game. We beat a good team on the road, which is not easy to do. We had a heck of a performance, we played a heck of a game but as good as we were Saturday, we were that much worse today."

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