ASU notebook: Lockett's ankle injury a concern
The Sun Devils continue to deliver the unexpected just when they seem ready to collapse. But how much longer can this continue, especially as their personnel issues mount?
Arizona State (6-11, 2-3 Pac-12) gave another clear sign it has not surrendered with a 76-66 home victory over reeling Oregon State on Jan. 14.
But his one carried a price tag -- and don't they all these days? -- as junior Trent Lockett, the team's best player and fill-in point guard following the dismissal of Keala King, sprained his right ankle with 10 minutes left against the Beavers. He did not return.
The Sun Devils won anyway, thanks in part to a career-high 24 points from sophomore Chanse Creekmur, who went 8 for 9 from the field and made six 3-pointers.
But there was more to the winning effort than simply making shots, coach Herb Sendek said. Something he believes the team can carry forward.
"I think this team, for the last couple of weeks, even though we haven't always had the results go our way, has really done a great job of coming together," Sendek said. "I love the way they talk to each other and help each other. We're in the process right now of really becoming a team -- win, lose or draw."
Lockett's status for this week is unclear. Ankle sprains can heal miraculously or linger.
The Sun Devils would be in trouble going forward if Lockett cannot play. He turned the ball over seven times in the loss to Oregon, but Sendek praised his performance anyway.
"I don't think he's ever played point guard, which obviously isn't the easiest position to just go play," Sendek said. "If you're a 2, you can play the 3. If you're a 4, you can play the 5. But the point guard is that special position on the court, and I thought he was really good."
For one night, at least, the Sun Devils had the stuff to overcome Lockett's exit. They earned their first home win since Dec. 10, and they continue to thrive without King, who never was a natural point guard but was the team's best choice at the time.
Amazingly, through four games without King, Arizona State is shooting 55 percent from the field.
-- Coach Herb Sendek, addressing his recent dismissal of PG Keala King, said it was important the program maintains certain standards.
"We spend a lot of time together, and in the final analysis, it just seemed to me that it made great sense for our program and for Keala that we had a new beginning," Sendek said. "That's never an easy decision when you're wrestling with a young man's future. That's an agonizing process."
-- Arizona State had 21 turnovers during its win over Oregon State, 13 of them in the first half.
-- The Sun Devils shot 59 percent from the field against the Beavers two days after converting 51 percent in the loss to Oregon.
BY THE NUMBERS: 20 -- Turnovers by junior Trent Lockett in his first four games starting at point guard following the dismissal of Keala King from the roster.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We came together and played as a team. We pulled together at the end, and that's what teams do. ... We finally drew a line in the sand. We got to just keep building off this." -- Sophomore F Chanse Creekmur, after scoring a career-high 24 points in Arizona State's win over Oregon State.