Herb Sendek insists that his team is getting better.
That can be left up to debate.
But there can be no debate about the end results, as the losses continue to pile up on the ASU men’s basketball team.
Washington sent ASU to its ninth straight loss and 11th straight Pac-10 defeat, running away with a 79-62 victory at Wells Fargo Arena Thursday night.
Video by Derek Trebesch.
The 11 game conference losing streak is tied for the second longest in school history. The longest Pac-10 losing streak came in Sendek’s first season when the Sun Devils started conference play 0-14.
“We are getting better,” Sendek said. “We just don’t have anything to show for it in terms of wins. We haven’t had a breakthrough. Believe me when I tell you that when I go back and watch film from the last time we played a team, we are getting better. It is not good enough to win in our league right now.”
As the losses continue to mount, Sendek refuses to let frustration get the best of him.
“Maybe I am just being stubborn, but I refuse to get frustrated,” Sendek said. “I’ll leave that up to somebody else. If anything right now, I am feistier than ever.”
The Sun Devils (9-16, 1-12 Pac-10) started off hot and jumped out to a 15-7 lead about six minutes into the game.
The Huskies (18-7, 10-4), who have struggled on the road, appeared flustered at the start, turning the ball over four times during the game’s first six minutes.
UW coach Lorenzo Romar then made a switch to a zone defense and ASU’s early offensive success came to a grinding halt.
The Huskies used a 9-0 run to take a 23-19 lead and then an 11-1 run to turn a 27-27 tie into a 38-28 lead with 2:06 to play in the half.
ASU scored 15 points in the game’s first six minutes, but then scored just 18 the rest of the half after UW switched to a zone, something that is unusual for the Huskies.
“We didn’t really prepare for a zone playing them, they are a man-to-man deny team,” senior guard Ty Abbott said. “It wasn’t something that we worked on much this week, but regardless it wasn’t the first time we’ve seen a zone. We’ll take the fall for that one.”
Though the zone caused ASU to struggle on offense, Sendek didn’t think that it had the decisive impact on the result.
“I don’t think we executed our zone offense particularly well,” Sendek said. “In the grand scheme of things I don’t think that was our undoing. More than that comes to mind in terms of us not being better tonight.”
After going four games without reaching double figures, Abbott had 13 points in the first half on six-for-11 shooting.
The second half was a different story, as Abbott scored just two points.
“We got kind of stagnant,” Abbott said. “I was standing and watching the action trying to figure out where to cut because we didn’t have any fluidity, we were just standing around watching each other.”
ASU again struggled at the free throw line, making just six of its 19 attempts. The Sun Devils did no favors to their comeback hopes in the second half when they made just two of 12 foul attempts.
Abbott was the only player in double figures for ASU. Sophomore guard Trent Lockett added nine points, while freshman guard Corey Hawkins and sophomore center Ruslan Pateev both chipped in seven.
The Sun Devils were without senior guard/forward Rihards Kuksiks, who missed Thursday’s game with a sprained ankle he suffered against UA last Sunday.
After scoring 30 points against ASU in Seattle, UW senior forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning led the Huskies with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Freshman guard C.J. Wilcox, who has averaged 6.4 points per game this season, added 16 points and eight rebounds.
With Sendek harping on celebrating minor victories despite the lack of actual victories, one that could be celebrated is the fact that ASU grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, five more than UW, the Pac-10’s offensive rebounding leaders.
Still, UW’s 45 total rebounds were the most by an ASU opponent all season, so were the Huskies’ 21 assists.
Right now minor victories aren’t what ASU wants. It wants to taste the real thing.
“No,” Abbott said bluntly when asked if he was a believer in minor victories. “Not at all.”
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