Sloppy effort leads to Pac-10 home loss

In the first half it was the turnovers, in the second half it was poor shooting and lack of rebounding presence. These shortcomings combined contributed to one of the worst displays by ASU in recent years, as Stanford exploited the hosts on both ends of the floor winning 55-41 in ASU's Pac-10 home opener. The Sun Devils were missing point guard Jamelle McMillan who was resting his ailing groin.

"Obviously the point guard is an important spot, and he (McMillan) has a lot of experience and we really rely on him heavily," ASU had coach Herb Sendek admitted, "but unfortunately that's all part of the process and we have to focus on the guys who are able to play. Obviously we really struggled on offense in every possible way this evening.

"Once again I think it's a really dangerous road to go down if you start attributing our teams play to the absence of any one player. That's something that we have to be able to better respond to and the guys who are in the lineup have to step up: not one man for him, but collectively to make up for a players absence."

The warning signs were certainly there in the first half. Stanford (9-4, 2-0 Pac-10) were already sporting a double digit lead, 21-10, with 7:50 left in the period. Ty Abbott and Carrick Felix spearheaded an 11-0 run for Arizona State (8-6, 1-2) to tie the game at 21 apiece with 2:21 left.

The Cardinal sported a slim 25-23 halftime lead, but never relinquished that advantage in the second half. The Sun Devils were outrebounded 25-8 in the last 20 minutes (after holding an 18-9 edge in that category in the first half) and shooting at just a 26.9 percent clip. Yet with all these struggles the hosts were just down 45-41 with 4:47 remaining in the game. Alas, ASU went scoreless the rest of the contest sealing the game's fate.

"Obviously we had 12 first half turnovers, did a much better job with only three in the second half," Sendek remarked, "but we really shot ourselves in the foot with the first half turnovers and like we've talked about seemingly from the beginning that we just have to continue to really work and make each other better on offense. Make each other get shots."

Trent Lockett, who returned to the lineup after missing the last two games. Had 10 points for ASU, as did reserves Carrick Felix and Ruslan Pateev. Lockett also paced his team with seven rebounds. ASU was only 1-14 beyond the arc, shot 35.4 percent for the game and had no fast break points. Josh Owens led Stanford with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

ASU doesn't have much time to wallow in their sorrows, as they host Cal Saturday at 12:30. The Bears coming off a close 73-71 loss to Arizona will surely not be in the best of mood themselves as they still seek their first conference win of the year.


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