ASU Men’s Basketball Wins First Game at Wells Fargo Arena

Arizona State’s Sun Devils Men’s Basketball started off the season with a bang as they headed onto the court taking on Chicago State for the first time.  Sun Devils went to the half with a 40-28 lead but finished it off with a final score of 86-50.

Shaquielle McKissic led ASU in points with 20 and Chicago’s points leader was Clarke Rosenberg, also with 20.  ASU’s Willie Attwood, Gerry Blakes and Roosevelt Scott all came in with 11 points each.

As Full Court Friday started the PAC-12 season, 11 teams were in action.

PAC12 standings after Saturday are:

California 1-0 home

Utah 1-0 home

Arizona State 1-0 home

Arizona 1-0 home

Washington 1-0 home

Oregon State 1-0 home

Colorado 1-0 home

Oregon 1-0 home

Stanford 1-0 home

UCLA 1-0 home

Washington State 0-1 away

USC 0-1 home

Head coach Herb Sendek led the Sun Devils to a 20-win season in 2013-14.  This will be his 30th season overall in coaching, 9th at Arizona State.

His expectations for a first game were simple, “to win it.”

“The first game, especially when you have as many new guys as we have and trying to figure out roles, we have some uncertainty, but I told the guys to rely on three things.”  He said to “rely on preparation, the way we’ve prepared all fall; second to rely on our connectivity, no one has to go out there and do it alone; and third, to rely on great effort, lose yourself in the cause with relentless effort.  And I thought for the most part, they really achieved that.”

Sendek said overall, “I think we have the chance to be a good defensive team provided we can protect the basket and rebound the ball.”

When asked about replacing so many guys this season and how this affects the team, Shaq McKissic responded, “The seniors, me, Bo and Jon, you know, guys like EJ, are some of the most unselfish guys I’ve played with in a two year span.  So it’s good for the younger guys, they look up to us…to see that we play like that, cause then they play like that, so when everybody touches the ball, it makes it more fun, it makes you really want to play harder on defense.”

He had his first dunk of the season, which was a pretty amazing shot, holding onto the rim, letting fans know he had arrived, he said, “It was pretty good feeling.”

Gerry Blakes was excited about being on the starting lineup.  He said,  “I’ve been anticipating this since I graduated from high school…and to just actually be out there today, being my first time, having that experience, it was everything to me and it was exactly how I envisioned it.”

ASU SunDevils Hoops1It seemed that everyone was enjoying that feeling.  After the guys had come out of the locker room and were ready to leave the stadium, Tra Holder was spotted on the court with his family just taking it all in.  He said that he was really excited to play his first college basketball game and be a part of the PAC12 experience.

McKissic said in post game that it was important for the Freshman to be like a towel and absorb all the mentoring, that [Tra] would need that mindset in order to become a great player when he’s a senior.  He was off to a good start, being on the starting lineup and making his first 3 points in his college career.

This years Sun Devil team has what hopes to be a strong line up:

Willie Atwood #2, F ~ 6-8 ~ 210 ~ Jr ~ Memphis, TN

Bo Barnes #33, G ~ 6-4 ~ 190 ~ Sr ~ Scottsdale, AZ

Gerry Blakes #4 ~ G ~ 6-4 ~ 195 ~ Jr ~ Inglewood, CA

Cameron Gilbert #32 ~ F ~ 6-10 ~ 240 ~ Fr ~ Prescott, AZ

Jonathan Gilling #31 ~ F ~ 6-7 ~ 219 ~ Sr ~ Rungsted Kyst, Denmark

Savon Goodman #11 ~ F ~ 6-6 ~ 215 ~ So ~ Philadelphia, PA

Tra Holder #0 ~ G ~ 6-1 ~ 180 ~ Fr ~ Los Angeles, CA

Eric Jacobsen #21 ~ F ~ 6-10 ~ 255 ~ Jr ~ Chandler, AZ

Kodi Justice #44 ~ G ~ 6-3 ~ 160 ~ Fr ~ Mesa, AZ

Connor MacDougall #55 ~ F/C ~ 6-8 ~ 220 ~ Fr ~ Tempe, AZ

Shaquielle McKissic #40 ~ F ~ 6-5 ~ 200 ~ Sr ~ Seattle, WA

Corban Murphy #34 ~ G ~ 6-3 ~ 190 ~ So ~ Crystal Lake, Ill.

Chance Murray #3 ~ G ~ 6-2 ~ 180 ~ So ~ Los Angeles, CA

Roosevelt Scott #1 ~ G ~ 6-4 ~ 180 ~ Jr ~ St. Paul, MN

Sai Tummala #24 ~ F ~ 6-7 ~ 215 ~ Jr ~ Phoenix, AZ

Austin Witherill #22 ~ G ~ 6-0 ~ 160 ~ Fr ~ Gilbert, AZ

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About: Sandy Balazic

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Sandy is a graduate of ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She has worked as a PIN reporter for Cronkite News in the Public Insight Network professional program. She also contributed as an in-depth reporter for Cronkite News' Emmy winning "Hooked: Tracking Heroin's Hold in Arizona" documentary. She freelances for The Sports Kave covering ASU and other sports.

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