ASU Basketball: Devils End Season With Loss to Richmond


Sunday, the ASU men’s basketball season came to an end.  The Sun Devils lost their second NIT game to the University of Richmond, 76-70 in overtime.  Coming into the game, ASU was riding high, having beaten UCONN in Storrs, Connecticut earlier in the week.  But the #1 seeded Richmond Spiders were up to the task playing on their home court.

Metaphorically speaking, this game was a slugfest.  It was a competitive game where after an initial series of runs, both teams settled down and slugged it out, with neither team able to pull away.  From the 15 minute mark in the first half, neither ASU nor Richmond would lead by more than 4 points until the very end of the game.

The play of the game was made by Richmond guard Kendall Anthony in the final minute of overtime.  With the score tied, Anthony buried a 3-pointer while being fouled by senior forward Jonathan Gilling.  Anthony completed the four-point play by converting the free throw.  ASU’s Gerry Blakes quickly answered with a three pointer of his own.  But the Sun Devils were forced to play the foul game for the remaining Richmond possessions.  The Spiders made all but one of their free throws and ASU could not score.

As an observer, it looked like ASU was out of sorts.  Credit should be given to Richmond.  They showed up to play.  But freshman point guard Tra Holder did not look comfortable.  Perhaps he was pestered by the speed of the Richmond guards.  Whatever the reason, Holder, who has been phenomenal in the last 4-6 weeks was not himself.  He finished with just ten points.

Seniors Jonathan Gilling and Bo Barnes were equally off their game.  The long-ball duo combined for just 5 points, including just one three-point basket by Gilling.  Honestly, ASU looked tired, weary and unprepared.  They played hard, but they just looked out of sync.

The loss ends the season for ASU and once again kicks off the rumors of the future of coach Herb Sendek.  Recently, the ASU program has had disappointing finishes to their season.  The frustration from the fans is fueling the speculation that Sendek will be replaced.  On that front, Devils in Detail is not aware of any such activity.  However, with the new Athletic Director and a school President that demands excellence, you can bet that the ASU athletic department is not satisfied and will definitely keep their options open.  Until then, coach Sendek is here and will attempt to reload for next season.