Sendek continues to push team hard in midst of losing streak

slider asuThe last five games for the Sun Devils have been a tough stretch, where they’ve lost four of the five contests. 

Saturday’s 21-point loss to Utah saw a tale of two halves. The Sun Devils shot a respectable 47-percent in the first half, but only 32-percent in the second. 

The game was out of hand at halftime, as they were already down by 17. 

The loss drops Arizona State’s record to 6-13, and 2-5 in the Pac-12. 

Head coach Herb Sendek met with the media on Tuesday and said his team needs to up their defensive focus and intensity, if they expect to finish the season in a strong manner. 

“We have to, as a team, find a way to sustain greater effort on the defensive end of the floor,” Sendek said. 

Sendek said that some players on the roster have to be ready to play some serious minutes (i.e. not come off the floor). 

Guard Trent Lockett is still battling the ankle sprain he suffered against Oregon State on Jan. 14. Sendek said Lockett is doing better, but hasn’t returned to practice, and is “uncertain” for Thursday night’s game against Washington. 

Arizona State is averaging 16 turnovers a game, which is dead last in the Pac-12. Sendek addressed the high number of giveaways. 

“Our turnovers have to continue to be a point of emphasis as we move forward,” Sendek said. 

He said the turnovers aren’t just coming from the point guard position, but from every position on the court, which is something he said he would address from now until the end of the season.

As for their next opponent, the Huskies, Sendek talked about their toughness. 

“They play a physical brand of basketball,” Sendek said. “They get after it on the defensive end, they’re an excellent rebounding team and they’re a talent rich team.” 

Thursday’s game will be special in the fact that Lafayette Lever, better known as “Fat” Lever, will be honored at halftime. Lever will have his jersey hung in the rafters at Wells Fargo Arena. 

Lever played at Arizona State from 1978-1982, before being drafted 11th in the 1982 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. Lever played in the NBA for 12 seasons. 

“It’s one of the best things we’ve done,” Sendek said. “We’re thrilled to be able to do it for Fat.”