Lockett, Abbott provide much needed boost

The Sun Devils pulled off another lopsided victory in an 84 to 62 win over Texas State Monday night in front of 5,457 at Wells Fargo Arena as part of ESPN's 24-hours of basketball coverage. The Sun Devils now look ahead to a 9:30 tip off tomorrow night against the TCU Horned Frogs.

The Sun Devils started slow, looking sloppy as they turned to ball over and failed to close out on the three-point shooters of Texas State, but the Sun Devils got a lift as Ty Abbott returned from injury and sparked the team with a couple of threes and some nice defensive plays, but even when he's not on the floor, Coach Herb Sendek likes what Abbott brings to his team.

"We'll just see how he responds," Sendek said of Abbott's first time back on the court from injury. "It's going to take some time for him to get back in shape and catch up, but obviously he gave us a huge lift in the first half. We went on a big spurt when he hit a couple shots and energized our team like he always does. One thing about Jamelle and Ty, they always give us energy and they always give us a voice."

Abbott played only 14 minutes, and Sendek added that he is still only in the beginning stages of his recovery. Still, Sendek was please with the outcome not only for Abbott, but also for the whole team.

"I thought that was a really good hard fought win for our team," Sendek stated. "Texas State has a tremendous amount of toughness. They really took it to us on the offensive glass, and in the post, but our guys battled and we got a big lift obviously from Ty (Abbott), great to have him available at least for some portion of the game. I though Eric Boateng both on the boards and in the post in the second half really gave us a lift. Derek (Glasser) hit a couple big threes, and I thought to start the second half Trent (Lockett) really got us going with some deflections and steals and some defensive help.

"Stopping the three in college basketball is always paramount. We held them to five threes and a fairly low percentage. For us the most glaring things tonight: defensive rebounding, which is gonna be a challenge for our basketball team, we turned it over way too much, and that made it difficult to overcome, and I thought they got the ball inside and we didn't do a good job in our post area a few times. We were pretty active; I think we had 45 or 48 deflections. I think Trent and Eric each had nine a piece, which was encouraging."

Abbott finished the game with 11 points, three steals and hit three of four shots from behind the arc in his return, but the player that stood out the most was freshman swingman Trent Lockett.

Lockett provided plenty of big plays for the Sun Devils, and really hit the glass hard, something the team needed desperately after being overwhelmed on the boards to start the game.

"Last game was the first game of my career of course, just getting the jitters out," Lockett pointed out. "Tonight we played a better team in Texas State, we knew we had to come out and play good tonight and I and just wanted to help the team the best I could. So I just tried to come out and play hard.

"Some of the stuff they were running we were having a little trouble matching up, but as the game went on the coaches helped us out with matching up out of our zone and we've got to keep rebounding. That's the biggest thing that's going to hurt us this season if we don't keep rebounding."

Lockett finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, and a couple of dunks (well one and a half) that got the crowd to their feet.

"I saw DG attack the paint and I just wanted to make sure he made it," Lockett said of the put-back dunk, "if he didn't I was gonna clean it up for him."

The other dunk wasn't as spectacular as he took off from far away, missed the dunk, and watched as the ball spun around the rim, but regardless it still went in and got the crowd to their feet.

"Ya I went, and he (the defender) went from behind and tipped it," Lockett said with a smile. "I wasn't really ready for that, at least it went in, I was glad for that."

Coach Sendek had nothing but praise for his first-year guard who provided a lift on both sides of the floor.

"He's a tremendous young player," Sendek praised of Lockett. "He's very gifted athletically, he's very smart, he's playing multiple spots for us, he picks things up quickly, and we're really excited about his future with our team.

"I don't know if we've had a presence like that on the offensive glass from our perimeter. He really takes pride in that and helps us get extra possessions."

Turnovers were a problem for Arizona State tonight as the Bobcats forced them to commit 20, four of which by their floor leader, Glasser.

"Texas State did a great job pressuring us," Sendek admitted. "They harassed us, they were tenacious, and they deserve credit. We didn't take care of the ball, I can go through them in my mind one-by-one and give you an explanation, and they mount. We had a four-on-one and we tried a trick pass and it went the other way and it was a four-point swing. We catch the ball on the wing and we don't triple threat and the guy gets up in us and takes the ball. Jamelle is running the left lane and we outlet it to him instead of Derek and in that ensuing possession instead of us going in transition they hit a three.

"They just start to mount, so we've got to be better in that area and we will. Before it's all said and done we will be a low turnover team."

Tomorrow's contest will be an early test for the young Sun Devils as they must get up early for class and prepare for a tough TCU team, coached by Sendek's former assistant, Jim Christian.

"We ended up getting the ‘W' by over 20 points," Lockett declared, "but I know we have another really good team in Texas Christian tomorrow, so we've got a quick turn around; get to bed tonight, get some good rest and be ready to come back tomorrow.

"He (Coach Sendek) said just to get to bed, go shower, and get to bed tonight, and we'll be back at it tomorrow. We've got class tomorrow so we'll have to work our schedules around that, but coaches will pick apart the film from Texas Christian and we'll get back at it."

As for coach, he's just going to watch film and get back to it tomorrow with confidence in his team to come out strong Tuesday night.

"It's not so much playing against a former assistant, it's playing a really good team," Sendek clarified. "I had a chance to watch Texas Christian a few minutes before our game. I didn't get to watch the whole game, but I was extremely impressed. Offensively they are really a hard guard. They shoot the ball, they are skilled, and their bigs do things away from the basket and inside. They have great offensive balance. They scheme well, they move the ball. They're going to be a hard guard for us. Defensively, like tonight, they play with a lot of tenacity and energy.

"It happens quickly and our guys have to get up and go to class tomorrow too, and we played a late game tonight, but our guys are young and I'm sure they'll find a way to play two games in two days."

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