Lockett, Devils hold off pesky Bobcats 78-72

To hear coach Herb Sendek’s postgame comments, it would be hard

to realize his Arizona State Sun Devils won their season opener

against Montana State.

Sendek lamented the Devils’ 22 turnovers and the 17

second-chance shots the Bobcats had were the top things on his mind

after Arizona State eked out a 78-72 victory over its Big Sky

opponent on Friday.

”We were annihilated on the glass,” he said, pointing out the

seven offensive rebounds for Montana State’s Tre Johnson. ”It

seems like they shot a much higher percentage than 34 percent from

the field because every time they shot they got another shot, and

sometimes a third shot.”

As for the turnovers, the most in Sendek’s six-season tenure at

Arizona State, they were ”careless, sloppy.”

”We just didn’t take care of the ball anywhere near the way we

need to,” Sendek said, ”so defensive rebounding and turnovers,

two obvious glaring shortcomings of our team today.”

Trent Lockett had 17 points and 10 rebounds for his second

career double-double.

Sendek praised Lockett’s performance.

”I thought he really put us on his shoulders with his

toughness, as reflected by his 10 rebounds, and allowed us to hold

on for a hard-fought win.”

The Sun Devils led 33-21 at halftime but the Bobcats started the

second half with an 18-8 run and stayed within single digits most

of the rest of the way.

Keala King scored 16 and Carrick Felix 13, including a steal and

breakaway stuff that put the Sun Devils up by 10 with 3:21 to play.

Five Sun Devils scored in double figures.

”We would have liked to end it a little bit differently,”

Lockett said. ”I think we had 10-point lead with about a minute

and a half left and tried to extend it rather than see it shrink,

but it’s good to get a win.”

Shawn Reid led Montana State with 19. Xavier Johnson-Blount

added 13 and Tre Johnson 11 for the Bobcats, who shot just 34

percent, 18 percent in the first half.

Bobcats coach Brad Huse said there were ”definitely some

positives” for his team in the close loss.

”I thought we showed good resilience. The first half they

forced us into some turnovers that gave them a double-digit lead,”

Huse said. ”I thought we were a little tight, especially shooting

the basketball, but we relaxed in the second half and I thought we

competed real hard.”

Three-pointers by Christian Moon and Rod Singleton sliced the

lead to 75-72 with 13 seconds to play, but King made one of two

free throws, then after a missed Montana State layup, Kyle Cain

sank two from the line to finally put away the Bobcats, winless in

four tries against Arizona State.

Lockett scored eight in a 10-2 run to end the first half and

give Arizona State a 33-21 lead at the half. The Bobcats shot just

18 percent in the half (5-for-28), 3 of 16 from 3-point range. The

Sun Devils didn’t exactly light it up, either, making 39 percent of

their shots (11 of 28). Arizona State committed 13 turnovers in the

sloppy first 20 minutes, to 10 for Montana State.

The Bobcats, with just one starter back from last season’s 13-18

team, opened the second half with an 18-8 run, cutting the lead to

41-39 on Jourdain Allou’s three-point play with 14:18


The Sun Devils scored the next seven, the last five by King,

whose 3-pointer made it 49-41 with 12:32 to go. But the Bobcats

came back again. King fouled Johnson-Blount on a three-point try,

and he made two of three free throws to cut the lead to 51-47 with

10 minutes remaining.

King’s layup capped a 7-0 spurt that boosted it to 58-47.

After Felix’s steal and stuff made it 68-58, he added a pair of

free throws with 2:46 remaining to make it 70-58, matching the Sun

Devils’ biggest lead of the game.

Again, Montana State came back with a 14-7 spurt that made it

close at the end.

The Sun Devils are without their top recruit, point guard Jahii

Carson, who is awaiting word from the NCAA on his academic