Miscues catch up with Devils

With an almost empty arena and a shorthanded team, it's no wonder that Arizona State was defeated 66-57at home tonight by the UCLA Bruins. The Sun Devils put up a great fight in the first half yet managed to lose control, get sloppy, and succumb to the Bruins' power in the second stanza.

Junior ASU wing, Carrick Felix was unable to play due to illness, leaving Arizona State (8-20, 4-12 Pac-12) with just seven dressed scholarship players.

"Carrick has a virus and he hasn't been able to practice with us all week," Sendek explained. "In fact, I haven't even seen him. He's been down and out. We knew for sure yesterday that he wouldn't be able to play today, not having done anything since last weekend.

"Looking ahead to Saturday's game I don't know what the prognosis is, even if he is back, having been basically in bed all week I don't know what kind of energy he'll be able to muster."

Junior Trent Lockett however, was able to take the court tonight, coming out for his fifth game since his ankle injury. Lockett is usually explosive, intense, and driven, but tonight he seemed to lack all of the above. After the game, he reflected on the condition of his ankle.

"It's still going to be an issue," Lockett admitted, "but at the end of the day I'm still out there playing. I've still got to be effective and just try to make some plays. Little things here and there, I'll be fine."

JC transfer Chris Colvin posted ten points and a season high of nine assists. Having only three turnovers in a total of thirty-nine minutes of play, made this game one of his best yet.

"I'm really pleased with Chris's continued progress," Sendek said. "We're talking about a young man who has improved now as much as anybody that I can see. He's really playing well. He's just staying the course. He has showed up everyday and continues to listen and learn and work. He is also playing through and gaining experience. We essentially can't take him out of the game, and don't take him out of the game. So he has the opportunity to play through a lot of things and I think that's helping him."

Trent Lockett put his performance perfectly, stating: "Chris played outstanding today, props to him."

Colvin however was a little bit more modest when asked if this was his best game as a Sun Devil.

"I think so, just as far as getting everybody involved," Colvin remarked. "We got everybody involved in the first half and we actually did better but like I said, we've just got to keep that up, and our turnovers have to be down."

Another solid player for ASU in this loss was freshman Jonathan Gilling. With a total of 17 points in 39 minutes of play, he has proved to be a steady and consistent player for the Sun Devils.

"Jonathan had a pretty good game tonight shooting the ball," Sendek said. "We're relying on him once again as a first year guy to do an awful lot."

Both Colvin and Lockett attributed the team's shortcomings in the second half to be a lack of defense, as UCLA (16-12, 9-6) shot 55.6 percent in the last 20 minutes of the contest en route to ASU's fourth straight loss.

"We broke down on defense coming out into the second half," Colvin recalled. "They hit a lot of corner three's on us. I think when we came out in the second half, we came out sluggish and they jumped up on us. We need to come out better in the second half and be ready to play."

Another obstacle for the hosts was UCLA's Josh Smith who scored ten points for the Bruins. "He really is a difficult cover for us," Sendek declared. "He's a tremendous force inside. We had a similar challenge when we played earlier in Anaheim."

Sendek feels that the team needs to do a better job of simply making plays if his squad wants to get back in the win column.

"I think we had any number of point blank shots and opportunities to score that we didn't capitalize on," Sendek commented. "We've simply got to make the plays that we're capable of making, finish the shots that we're capable of scoring, and that would put our team in a different position as we move through the game. I think that more than anything else, from our perspective is tonight's story."

With only two conference games left in the season, Sendek will continue to focus on the basics.

"Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals," Sendek stated. "It all comes back to fundamentals. We can make a laundry list of the different fundamentals that make the difference in every sport. It's not the plays, it's not the schemes or the strategies, and it's the blocking and the tackling. We have to continue to work hard to get better at the fundamentals."

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