The Pac-12 tournament opened with Arizona State’s 89-88 overtime win over Stanford, one that sets up the Sun Devils as perhaps the toughest second-round matchup UCLA could have had.
The Bruins tip off against ASU at 12 p.m. Thursday after splitting the season series, and will have to contend with Co-Freshman of the Year Jahii Carson. The 5-foot-10 point guard dropped a career-high 34 points on the Cardinal, just one shy of the program record for freshmen. Senior forward Carrick Felix, an all-conference defender, is also a concern.
Some quotes from the Sun Devils after that win, touching a bit on the rubber match with UCLA.
Carson, on his play in big moments: “I just try to come up big on big stages. I know my teammates look for me to create for them and create for myself, and I try to go out there and make big plays. …
“I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder growing up. People called me (height-)disabled because of my size on the basketball court, and I use that to my advantage. I try to attack the paint, fearless, and just try to go up and score and make big plays.”
Carson, on UCLA: “They’re a good team. They have a lot of strong weapons. But I think (if) we come out with the same mentality we came out with today, the same energy, the same toughness, I think we can control that game and control the tempo.”
Felix, on UCLA: “We’ve got to make sure we D-up and rebound. I think rebounding 50-50 plays tomorrow is definitely going to be key for us.”
Felix, on defending Shabazz Muhammad: “He’s going to look to score it every time. He runs the floor, and he’s a tough player. I’ve just got to make sure I stay composed, be smart on defense, and just play him straight up. I’ve got my teammates and I know if I get get into any trouble, I’ll have a little bit of help. But me and him are going to battle tomorrow.”