Often in life you have to do the best with what you have and that was the case for Herb Sendek and his Arizona State basketball team.
Playing for the first time since co-leading scorer Keala King was dismissed from the team, the Devils lost their inaugural Pac-12 home opener 67-58 to Oregon at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe.
The Devils (5-11, 1-3) fell behind early, but closed the deficit to two at the half when wing-turned-point guard Trent Lockett sliced through the Ducks (12-5, 3-2) defense for a twisting layup in the closing seconds. Lockett finished the half a perfect 6-6 from the field for 14 total points and four assists.
ASU eventually re-took the lead and pushed it to four, 45-41, on Chanse Creekmur’s jumper, but that’s when Oregon’s depth began to wear down Lockett and the Devils.
E.J. Singler grabbed an offensive rebound and slammed home a bucket down the lane to put Oregon up 62-55 before the Sun Devils closed the gap to 62-58. The Devils had a chance to inch closer before consecutive turnovers from freshman Jonathan Gilling and sophomore Carrick Felix.
Oregon then iced the game when back-up point guard Jonathan Lloyd made three of four free throws in the closing minute.
Lockett, who played nearly the entire forty minutes, finished with a game-high 23 points. He added five assists, but committed seven turnovers in the loss.
“I think in the second half, fatigue kinda got us,” Lockett explained after the loss. “We’re in great shape so there’s no excuse for that.”
Guard Devoe Joseph led the Ducks in scoring with 15, including three three-pointers. Singler chipped in 11, along with five rebounds and five assists.
After the game, ASU head coach Herb Sendek said he won’t make any excuses regarding his short-handed roster.
“We’re not going to be able to call anybody up from the D-League,” Sendek deadpanned to the media. “This is who we have right now. We’re going to have to do a good job with our conditioning, our recovery, and our mental toughness.”
The Devils look to break their two-game losing streak when they host Oregon State Saturday evening at 6:00.