When it was over, Corey Hawkins gave Trent Lockett a man-hug that knocked both to the floor near center court. Jamelle McMillan did a lap around the Wells Fargo lower bowl, high-fiving the student section. Coach Herb Sendek, seemingy feistier during the game, also took a lap around the court while pointing to fans high and low.
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That Arizona State ended an 11-game Pac-10 losing streak with a 71-69 victory over Washington State on Saturday afternoon was reason enough for a celebration.
That they did it without senior starters Ty Abbott and Rik Kuksiks indicated not only how tough-minded the Sun Devils have remained during their six weeks of adversity but also what sort of players they can build with going forward.
“It’s a great day,” Sendek said.
“It was putting a full game together finally,” ASU leading scorer Trent Lockett said.
Lockett led ASU (10-16, 2-12) with 20 points and eight rebounds, hitting 7 of 9 free throws as the Sun Devils recovered from a 6-of-19 game against Washington to make 14 of 18 foul shots. They did enough down the stretch so that Washington State’s Abe Lodwick was forced into a 3-pointer at the final buzzer that hit the front rim and bounced off. Klay Thompson had a game-high 28 points, but he sat the first 5:47 as punishment for missing the team bus to the game.
“With the way things have been going lately, when that shot went up there, I didn’t have the best feeling. When it hit the rim, a weight moved off my shoulders,” Lockett said.
Freshman wing Chanse Creekmur, who made his first career start because Kuksiks’ left ankle remained unplayable, had career highs in almost every category, scoring 18 points in 33 minutes. He made 6 of 9 field goal attempts, 5 of 8 from 3-point range, and added three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Hawkins started in place of Abbott, who suffered a shoulder injury when he took an elbow from Washington’s Matthew Bryan-Amaning on Thursday, and had three points, three rebounds, six assists and two steals in 29 minutes. And with freshman guard Keala King adding 10 points, four rebounds and two assists, ASU got 63 points from freshmen and sophomores.
Creekmur, who could fill Kuksiks’ small forward role next season, only knew for sure that he was starting during pregame meeting.