Senior delivers first win of the season

The Sun Devils found themselves tied with the Blazers 66-66 with 21-seconds remaining in the contests when sophomore Trent Lockett found an open Ty Abbott, and the senior proceeded to hit a three-point shot giving ASU a 69-66 win over UAB.

"I released the ball and hoped it went in," Abbott said. "Trent did a good job, he drove and drew two or three defenders which left me open which is what I was supposed to do so it kind of worked out how it was planned.

"Really the play was just designed for Trent to score any way he could. They weren't stopping him the whole game. I don't know how many shots he just went straight to the hoop uncontested so that was the plan and they kind of caught onto that at the end. My guy left me, went over to help on Trent and he turned around and found me."

Initially the maroon and gold planned to utilize their most effective player of the matchup, Lockett.

"Coach designed the play to get me the ball and going towards the basket, get fouled and go to the line," Lockett commented. "But my guy did a good job of cutting me off. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Ty's guy help. He's a great shooter, I'm going to give him the ball in that situation and he made a huge play for us."

Lockett, who was virtually unstoppable during Saturday's matchup lead the team with 19-points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

"He kept us in the game, it was his play," Abbott said of his teammate. "He had a lot of energy plays, dunks and things like that which kept the crowd in it. He is the reason I was able to hit that shot and also the reason that we have that win right now."

In the second half, Abbott left the court with a knee-injury with 11:16 left in the game and it was questionable whether or not the senior would return. After spending four minutes on the bench, Abbott, with his resiliency, returned to the action.

"I knocked knees really bad," Abbott said of his injury. "I don't really know what's going on with it right now but it's hurting so we'll see when I talk to the trainers. I did it on the offensive end, right at the beginning of the game and then I did it again in the second half. It's bothering me a little bit. Lateral movement was giving me trouble but I found a way to get through it.

"I don't know, it took a little while for me to get gathered, it was hurting pretty bad. I couldn't bend it at one point so I was trying to figure out how I was going to get through it."

With only four players on the Arizona State roster that saw playing time last season, the young and inexperienced unit has already proven the veterans can count on them to maintain the game. Newcomers, Keala King, Carrick Felix, Kyle Cain and Chanse Creekmur were able to see playing time against the Badgers scoring a combined 24 points.

"They're getting a lot better," Abbot said. "When I came out at the very beginning, we had Keala, Carrick and Kyle on the court and they were a big part of the surge we had because I think we were down 6 and they brought it back to a tie-game or maybe even the lead. They did a great job for us right there and that was big. When the seniors come out and the young guys go in, they definitely stepped up; I have to give them credit for that."

Although the maroon and gold were able to get a win, they still have many improvements to make as the season progresses. Shooting only 17.6% from field-goal range, the Sun Devils also will need to aggressively rebound in order to win games.

"We still have a problem with rebounding," Abbot admitted. "I feel like that's a big thing for us. If we can contain and get some rebounds and stop the tip dunks and tip outs, we'll be a lot harder to play with. We're doing a better job of defending the three-point line because that's obviously part of playing that zone. It's a learning process but we're growing."

Coach Sendek and his unit will travel to Anchorage, Alaska this weekend for the Great Alaska Shootout. Starting out with several challenging opponents has been something that the maroon and gold will use to their advantage in order to boost the learning of their rookie players.

"Coach put together a great schedule," Lockett commented. "Opening up at the Pit obviously, then UAB. We have Baylor coming up so there are a lot of good non-conference games. I think it's good for the new guys to push them, throw them into action and kind of let them work it out to make them have a high-learning curve. I think the tough schedule is working to our advantage."

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