Down in Tucson, the Cougars were evenly matched with Arizona for most of the game and won the game 78-76 when DeAngelo Casto laid it in with less than a second remaining. The Cougars were led by their new three-headed attack of Klay Thompson, Casto, and Reggie Moore who combined to score 55 of the teams 78 points in the win.
Head Coach – Ken Bone (89-52) vs. Herb Sendek (319-206)
G – Reggie Moore – (13.3 PPG, 4.5 APG) vs. Derek Glasser (11.0 PPG, 4.9 APG)
G – Marcus Capers – (6.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG) vs. Ty Abbott (8.5 PPG, 41% 3PT)
G – Klay Thompson – (23.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG) vs. Jamelle McMillan (8.1 PPG, 43% 3PT)
F – Nikola Koprivica – (8.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG) vs. Rihards Kuksiks (12.4 PPG, 38% 3PT)
F – DeAngelo Casto – (11.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG) vs. Eric Boateng (7.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG)
After James Harden left for the NBA, the torch was passed to Klay Thompson to be the next stud in the Pac-10 and he hasn't disappointed. Thompson is a smooth player who does everything well and has benefitted from new coach Ken Bone's up tempo philosophy. Joining Thompson in the backcourt is young Reggie Moore and Marcus Capers. Moore has been a great addition to the lineup with a lot of speed and good playmaking abilities.
With Glasser and McMillan playing PG 1 and PG 2, Ty Abbott is the only real slashing option in the backcourt and for the Devils to remain successful, he will need to play more games just like his last one – 17 points with a good inside-out combo. Coming on in relief will be Demetrius Walker and Trent Lockett.
Edge – Washington State
The Cougars have a similar lineup situation as the Devils – play three guards, have a tall European combo guard who plays bigger than he should, and then a true big man. Koprivica is a guy who has always been productive but is just now starting to find his shooting rhythm in his senior season. As for Casto, he has been a solid interior presence that has put together four double-doubles in the first 15 games.
ASU will combat that with Kuksiks and Boateng. As mentioned above with Abbott's offensive influence, the same goes for Kuksiks. If Kuksiks can get warm behind the arc, it opens up the offense completely and gives everyone better looks. Boateng started off hot but has cooled considerably. Taylor Rohde and Victor Rudd will likely see good minutes in relief.
Consistency. The Sun Devils just beat a good Washington team pretty handily. Can they keep it up against Washington State? If Kuksiks and Abbott continue to shoot the ball well and the team can move the ball around to the open man and hit the big shots; there is no reason ASU will fall but those are big ifs. When the team has such limited offensive resources, it's a tall task to win games if a shooting team's best shooters aren't shooting well.
Who Will Win and Why
After a brutal trip to LA in which the Devils got swept, they came back home and crushed a good team. I believe the Devils will continue their success at home to finish off the sweep. Washington State hasn't been terribly impressive on the road and after a close shave in Tucson, the hammer will drop on them in Tempe in the Sunday afternoon tilt.
ASU 64 Wazzu 55