New low for ASU men’s basketball… eight points in a half

Can it get any worse than this for the ASU men’s basketball team…eight points in a half?

Eight points.  In 20 minutes of play.  In an NCAA Division I game.

Washington State waltzed to a 36-8 halftime lead and then cruised to a 72-50 rout of Arizona State.  The eight points were the fewest allowed by WSU in a first half since the NCAA installed a shot clock in the 80’s.

The Sun Devils shot just 17 percent in the first half.

A 22-point loss against a team that is just a game over .500 in its overall record, and just 6-9 in the Pac-12.  Of course, the Sun Devils are 8-19 and 4-11 and sitting in 10th place in the conference.  WSU is eighth.

And, yes, the game was in Pullman.  But, c’mon… 22 points?!

DaVonte Lacey scored 17 points and Brock Motum had 16 for the Cougers.  But the Devils actually had the top point producer of the night, as Chris Colvin led all scorers with 18 points.  That was a career-high for the junior guard, a JUCO transfer from California.

You’d think the Cougers would have figured him out by now; he scored 16 against them in their earlier meeting on Jan. 28.  They certainly had the rest of it figured out.

Last night, the Devils recovered momentarily from the first-half shock, with help from a full-court press, and made a 23-7 run early in the second half to pull within 12 points.  But the Cougers made a few big plays in transition and regained control to pull away again for good.

The loss is the third in a row for ASU and the fifth out of the last six games – which represents all of February’s efforts.  January wasn’t much kinder to the Devils; they won just three games that month.

It’s been a cold winter for the boys from the desert.

And a nightmare for their head coach.  Herb Sendek has struggled with personnel issues this season, inconsistent play, injuries, and the lack of a good point guard.

Jahii Carson, the four-star recruit from Mesa High School, was supposed to fill that void at the point, but never got onto the court after the NCAA ruled him academically ineligible for this season.

Then, Keala King, a sophomore guard who had stepped in to try his hand at that spot, was dismissed from the team for what was termed “unacceptable behavior.”

And Sendek just recently got his top scorer back in the game.  Trent Lockett, who was leading the team in both scoring and rebounding when he suffered an injury in a Jan. 14 game with Oregon State, was out for six games.

The Sun Devils have put 10 different starting line-ups on the floor so far this season.

Sendek is just a couple of years removed from the good times, when he guided ASU to three straight 20-win seasons and a Pac-10 Coach of the Year honor.  But last year, the Devils finished in the conference cellar and this year will be a finish just a few spots above that.

Right now, the only bright spot for Sendek seems to be the fact that there are just three games left on the schedule to get through before he can begin rebuilding for next year.

The downside to that…the last one is against the Arizona Wildcats – which won the first meeting this season, at the end of December.  The Cats won that one by 17.

This time, it’s in Tempe.  Nothing like being embarrassed on your own floor in the final game of a season you already want to forget.

 (Photo: ASU Athletics)