Devils sluggish in home win

Whether you blame it on a coming back from New York over the weekend or any other reason, there was no doubt that Arizona State looked listless in a 74-57 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff in front of 6,800 in attendance at Wells Fargo Arena on Monday night.

"I didn't think there was any energy tonight," said head Coach Herb Sendek, "in our players; in the building…I thought our guys played tonight with too much lethargy." Was he understanding of the lack of energy due to the cross country trip his team has returned from just a couple of days ago?

"I never expect that," Sendek replied concerning the lack of energy from his players.

The biggest manifestation of Arizona State's (6-1) weariness, at least in the first half, was giving up a season-high 11 offensive boards in the first 20 minutes.

"They are a very good rebounding team," Sendek remarked concerning Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-5). "They came into the game outrebounding their opponents by seven (rebounds). I don't know no matter what our effort level is, if rebounding is going to be our signature. But we have to do better than we did.

"Make no mistake about it; Arkansas-Pine Bluff is a great rebounding team no matter who they play against."

The Lions grabbed just five offensive caroms in the second stanza, but overall won the battle on the glass 39-25.

ASU led 33-21 at the half, and at that point limited the visitors to 31 percent shooting. In the second half the Sun Devils outscored the Lions 41-36 as the visitors converted at a 45.8 percent clip. For the game the maroon and gold shot 54.5 percent and forced 18 turnovers.

Four of ASU's starters each logged 27 minutes or more.

Eric Boateng paced his teammates with 17 points and seven rebounds, and played perhaps his most assertive contest of the young season.

"The more Eric performs in the way he has early in the season, that will always foster his confidence," Sendek pointed out. "It's important that that happens because we need him to be productive."

Jamelle McMillan with 12 points Rihards Kuksiks with ten points were the only other ASU players in double figures. Derek Glasser led all players on the floor with nine assists. Savalance Townsend had 24 points for Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

ASU's Ty Abbott has already had an assortment of injuries this year. He missed the season opener recovering from a surgery on his torn knee meniscus, and he was cleared shortly before tip-off after suffering a lacerated eye lid suffered last Friday. The junior played only 14 minutes tonight scoring four points.

"He's roughly right now six weeks post-surgery," Sendek stated. "The time line for that comeback is four to six weeks. So theoretically if he were just coming back today, he wouldn't be late. If anything because of the athlete he is, the great job our medical staff did, and just being fortunate we got him back earlier than we could have.

"He literally didn't practice for four weeks, and those were really four important weeks of practice from October 16th until your first game. That's when you're putting everything in, that's when you're getting in shape, that's the first time in the season that you are playing with your teammates. He missed all that."

Demetrius Walker played just ten minutes in the game, and Sendek remarked that like all newcomers he needs to continue work hard and learn to get more playing time.

"Our older guys obviously have an advantage with experience and knowledge," he said. "It's early in the season and we need guys that work hard right now."

Sendek didn't dwell much on the fine performance his squad had in the NIT Season Tip-Off games in New York last week, and commented that he had hoped that the team has gained a lot from it. Having said that, he mentioned that his focus is on the task at hand.

"Next day, next play," Sendek said. "I'll start watching Baylor tomorrow."

The Sun Devils host the Bears as part of the Big 12/Pac 10 Hardwood Series Thursday at 8:30 pm.


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