Utah basketball: ASU's star freshman Jahii Carson stifled
Jahii Carson drove the lane as quick as a jet.
Arizona State's super-freshman point guard elevated for the layup that would've drawn the Sun Devils within a single point with 20 seconds remaining, only to have Jarred DuBois slide under him and draw the charge that clinched Utah's 60-55 win at the Huntsman Center on Wednesday night.
As a rookie, Carson has distinguished himself as one of the best in the Pac-12. He came into the matchup with the Utes averaging 24.3 per game on the road in league play. But Utah harassed and forced him into one of his worst games of the season.
"We threw him a lot of different looks," Utes forward Jordan Loveridge said. "It was like he didn't know what was coming. I think he was always worrying about what we were going to do next, and that gave us a big advantage."
Carson averaged 17.9 points per game overall entering the Huntsman Center. He left with 12 points while fouling out. He had six turnovers and just a single assist. He shot 4 for 11 from the field and never got into a flow.
Much of the credit for that goes to Utah. Larry Krystkowiak switched consistently from man to zone. On one possession, Glen Dean would guard him, giving him a strong and quick defender. DuBois would switch on him for the next possession. The Utes never allowed him to get into the lane and score. He never went on one of his patented runs.
As a result, Arizona State lost a huge chunk of its offense, which relies on Carson's creativity to formulate scoring chances for others. And a Sun Devils team that averages 75 points per game was stymied for the most part.
"Our guys were buying into guarding them and taking some things away," Krystkowiak said. "It's a defensive situation for us. The better we do that, the better our chances of winning."