Rob Edwards’ Offensive Comfort
For Edwards, there was always an adjustment to be made. Playing in the Horizon League at Cleveland State, he was often the most reliable offensive threat, posting high-scoring outings like this 26-point performance against No. 1 Kentucky:
At ASU, Edwards first struggled to ‘get his.’ Complemented with a back injury that removed him from six of the first seven games, the 6-foot-4 guard shot a combined 8-of-36 during his first four contests in a Sun Devil uniform, forcing shots commonly found at Cleveland State, but were out of his new team’s offensive flow and direction.
Since, Edwards has had ups (19 points on 4-of-9 shooting against Arizona) and downs (six points on 2-of-15 shooting against Washington State), but last night was his most complete performance of the season, in large part due to letting the game come to him.
While Edwards thrives off isolations and 1-on-1 battles, his first five points were byproducts of other plays. After a miss from Utah’s Barefield, ASU gets the rebound and advances to the frontcourt in the play below. Edwards does an excellent job of spacing the floor, cutting to an unoccupied short corner in the Utes’ 2-3 zone. Once Riley Battin commits to Cheatham around the elbow, Edwards flares to the perimeter for an open 3.
Later in the half, Edwards is able to benefit in transition. After Remy Martin pokes the ball free from Barefield, Edwards leaks out, shielding the defender with his left shoulder and finishing through contact for a 3-point play.
Edwards did have chances to take over, too. While ASU extended its lead early in the second half, Edwards gets a mismatch with Utah’s Novak Topalovic, hitting him with a hesitation dribble before rising and firing.
And in the end, there was rarely a time where Edwards forced anything. There’s a big impact from this free-throw line shot: ASU halts Utah’s momentum and extends its lead back to double digits. But look at the time on the shot clock at the start – 15 seconds. The shot came after prior ball movement, in the flow of ASU’s offensive sets.
By night’s end, ASU finished with 98 points, its second-most in a Pac-12 game since the 2007 season. And in letting opportunities come to him, Edwards was a main catalyst.