TEMPE — Making a lineup change is a delicate decision for coaches. There are matchups to consider, as well as psychological factors to weigh. Some players respond to getting benched, others pout.
After suffering two blowout road losses, Arizona State coach Herb Sendek changed his starting lineup, inserting sophomore Eric Jacobsen for Jonathan Gilling at power forward, and through two games, both parties have responded favorably.
Sophomore point guard Jahii Carson scored 18 points Saturday, pushing him past the 1,000-point career milestone, but the bigger story in ASU’s 72-51 over Colorado is how a subtle switch has restored the Sun Devils’ confidence, pushing them into the Pac-12’s upper half.
“We all know at the end of the day who starts isn’t that important,’’ said Sendek, who has made four lineup changes this season. “You can sub immediately in basketball, but there is that psychological part. As a coach, though, you’re always charged to do what’s best for the team.”
On a night that honored former ASU star Eddie House, ASU improved to 15-5 and 4-3 in the Pac-12, erasing the bad taste associated with recent losses at UCLA and top-ranked Arizona.
Jacobsen pulled down six rebounds, helping the Sun Devils to a 36-31 advantage. He also took a charge and helped hold Colorado center Josh Scott (11 points, seven rebounds) in check.
The move has also sparked Gilling. In two games coming off the bench, Gilling has made nine of 10 from the floor, including all seven of his three-pointers.
Washington 87, Oregon State 81: In Seattle, freshman Nigel Williams-Goss scored a career-high 32 points, and C.J. Wilcox added 14 as Washington rallied to win.
Washington trailed by 12 with 18 minutes to go before taking control with a 35-13 run to go up 68-58.