Trent Lockett isn't a point guard by trade, but the Sun Devils found out just how badly they need him there when he sprained his right ankle last month.
Lockett could return Feb. 9 to face Utah at home, and ASU would welcome him back with open arms. Without their junior leading scorer and rebounder, the Devils had lost five times in six games. They averaged 48.4 points in the five defeats and didn't get to 30 points at Cal Saturday until less than seven minutes remained.
"It's frustrating, especially watching stuff like that," Lockett said. "It's hard to watch."
But Lockett sees a light at the end of the tunnel.
"It's getting better," Lockett told the Arizona Republic between games at Stanford and Cal last week. "The swelling finally is starting to go down. We've really made progress."
Lockett is by nature a wing player, but a series of circumstances conspired to put him at point guard. Would-be star freshman Jahii Carson never got academically cleared to play, and Keala King was kicked off the team in early January.
Lockett struggled with turnovers at the point, but he was able to get the Sun Devils into their offense. Since his injury, junior Chris Colvin has manned the position with limited success.
In 17 games this season through Feb. 4, Lockett had averaged 13.9 points and 6.4 rebounds. He was shooting 54.7 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from 3-point range.
-- The Sun Devils had 14 turnovers at Stanford last Thursday, then 20 vs. Cal on Saturday. They had just one game in their first 23 this season in which they enjoyed a positive turnover margin vs. their opponent.
-- ASU's starters totaled 19 points and went 6 for 25 from the field in the loss at Cal.
-- The Sun Devils shot 6 for 34 from the 3-point arc in two losses in the Bay Area, and they were converting 35.4 percent for the season through Feb. 4.
BY THE NUMBERS: 13 -- Points Cal scored before the Sun Devils made their first field goal on Saturday. The Bears had leads of 11-0 and 13-1 to start the game.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We are just not playing good enough to have a chance to be competitive in this league on the road. I think that, for the most part, those reasons are pretty clear." -- Arizona State coach Herb Sendek, whose team is 1-6 in conference road games.
-- C Jordan Bachynski battled foul trouble and wound up with just five points and five rebounds in the loss at Cal. However, he had the best game of his college career two days earlier at Stanford, scoring a career-best 20 points while going 5 for 6 from the field and 10 for 12 from the foul line. The 7-foot-2 sophomore from Calgary was averaging 12.5 points over a four-game span entering the Cal game.
-- The only bright spot offensively on the Bay Area swing was sophomore F Kyle Cain, who had 26 points off the bench in the two games, including a team-high 18 at Cal. He shot 10 for 20 over the weekend.
-- Junior PG Chris Colvin had five turnovers by halftime at Cal, although he didn't pick up another one and wound up with five assists. Colvin has 27 turnovers and 25 assists over the past six games since becoming the starter.
-- Freshman wing Jonathan Gilling had a rough time of it at Stanford and Cal, shooting a combined 3 for 13 and totaling nine points. He did contribute five assists at Cal. The native of Vaduz, Denmark, was just one week removed from a 20-point effort against Washington.