Devils turn the page

After returning from a rough weekend on the road against the Washington schools, the Arizona State men's basketball team is managing to hold their heads high as they prepare to play the last three home games of the season, starting with UCLA on Thursday.

Reflecting on the continued road struggles of his team, leading scorer, Trent Lockett mentioned a repeated deficiency as the culprit of Arizona State's performance in recent weeks.

"Turnovers killed us," Lockett stated. "That is obviously going to affect the way we score. Confidence is the same place it's always been, we just have to come everyday ready to play and keep working, that's all we can do finishing off the season."

Arizona State only managed to secure eight points in the first half against Washington State on Saturday, and yet surprised everyone when they returned in the second scoring 42.

"I think if you look at Pullman offensively you can almost look at three boxes," explained head coach Herb Sendek. "The first box would be our turnovers and once again at intermission we had ten turnovers. That's way too high and it leads to easy baskets for the opponent.

"The second thing would be that we had the same quality of shots that we always get, but we weren't making them. The third thing that happened to us in that game was that given the struggles that we were experiencing, we got out of our comfort zone and we started to look for heroic plays that would be worth ten points a possession.

"Each guy kind of took a turn thinking he had to do something different from what we do and I think if we would have stayed within our framework we would have had a better chance to not be in that position."

As bleak as matters seem right now, Lockett is optimistic for the immediate future of the team.

"Things can only go up at that point," Lockett claimed. "I think we've shown that throughout the season. We've got ourselves in holes and we've responded fairly well. We've shown that we can play with these teams obviously. I mean the Pac-12 is down this year but it's upsetting because we show what we can do, we just don't bring it all the time."

Lockett, who hails from one of the best high school programs in his state (Hopkins High School, Minnesota), admits that his time here at ASU has been anything but straightforward and simple.

"It's been tough," Lockett admitted. "I never really have been through anything like last year and to add to it, with a year like this one but like coach says, ‘you always choose how you respond to each situation'. After games we can hang our heads or go into practice and work hard and try to get another win in the next game.

"I'm not quite used to it and these last few years have been extremely tough."

***

Sendek spent most of his time in today's press conference emphasizing the team's ability to bounce back, and to continue focusing on the fundamentals while still maintaining an upbeat and positive attitude.

"There's no reason to not be positive," Sendek remarked. "I mean what are you going to do? Are you going to walk around and show the world that you're miserable because things aren't going the way you expected or the way you would like? Where does that get you? We just refuse to do that.

"We have a lot of things to be grateful for. Our focus is on much more productive things like getting better from a coaching standpoint. Like leading and teaching from a playing standpoint. That's what we're all about. We have great confidence moving forward that we're going to win more games. We always have and that's our expectation in the future. We have a good feeling about the plan that we have. We're moving forward in the right way."

***

Once again, the Sun Devil's hope to not only put this past weekend behind them, but to also learn from it, as to better improve the program in years to come.

"Any season that you have you're able to add to your portfolio of experience," Sendek stated. "We all carry some total of our past experiences to the present moment. And so our guys are going to bring everything that we've gone through together with them forward to next year."

"We always try to work with a broad base front. Turnovers are an important part but I think the best summary is simply one word, fundamentals. This isn't a function of magic or scheme or brilliant strategy, it comes down to the fundamentals for us and that's where almost all of our energies are devoted."


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