After looking deflated against New Mexico in their season opener, ASU looked to make a statement against UAB in Tempe. After a clutch three pointer by Ty Abbott to seal the victory, the Sun Devils proved that they could beat a quality team, defeating the Blazers 69-66.
Trent Lockett scored 19 points to lead Arizona State to its first victory of the young season, improving their record to 1-1. Ty Abbott added 15 and freshman Kyle Cain chipped in 14 points, a respectable career high.
Of great concern is the interior game, which is bereft of height. Ruslan Pateev is spotty at best in the post and has yet to exhibit the hands and touch necessary to succeed in a competitive conference like the Pac-10. Cain played the lion's share of minutes at the forward position due to Pateev's foul trouble, but Cain is only 6'7" and would get eaten up by big, agile centers.
Rihards Kuksiks failed to contribute in a meaningful way, scoring only five points in 20 minutes. Making only one of six shots from 3PT range is not going to get it done.
All in all, this was a good win for ASU, but they have a long way to go before they will be a factor in the Pac-10 race. The Sun Devils head to Alaska for the Great Alaska Shootout starting on November 25, when they take on Houston Baptist.