It's amazing what a couple days can do for a player's psyche. Better still, it's amazing what being put in a critical situation can do for one's prospects.
Arizona State junior point guard Chris Colvin -- the team's lone remaining scholarship player naturally suited for the position -- had a forgettable Thursday, playing only 28 seconds and allowing a 3-pointer and committing a turnover in a loss to Oregon.
With confidence in the point guard seemingly at an all-time low, Colvin delivered in Saturday night's 76-66 win against Oregon State with a performance coach Herb Sendek called "amazing."
With 10:11 left in the second half and the Sun Devils leading 50-41, junior wing Trent Lockett, who handled point guard duties for the fourth consecutive game, went down with ankle injury that knocked him out for the rest of the game.
Out of necessity, Sendek looked to Colvin to handle the position for the rest of the game. The final result: six points, five assists and one turnover in the game's final quarter for the junior, who was dealing with confidence issues according to his coach.
More importantly, Colvin helped ASU pick up its second Pac-12 win of the season.
"It's no secret Chris has been struggling," Sendek said. "His confidence has been on the rocks, but for him to gather himself and play the way he did the last quarter is just a real tribute to him. Very happy for him, very proud of him."
Colvin didn't start Saturday's game that way, however. After being put in with 12:50 left in the first half, Colvin turned it over in the first possession and was taken out by Sendek 33 seconds later. He would come in again with close to five minutes left the half but didn't seem to get much accomplished.
All of that changed in the second half when dealing with adversity.
"The way he was able to go from where he's been, including the first half of this evening's game, to clear his mind and perform the way he did the last quarter of the game -- that is not easy to do," Sendek said. "To me that showed a lot, and we're not capable of holding off Oregon State if he doesn't do it."
Saturday night's win for ASU was not a one-man show, of course, and the Sun Devils played as a team coming down the stretch, even with the absence of Lockett. According to Sendek, this process didn't begin when Lockett came out of the game due to injury.
"They've been rallying together now for a couple weeks, they didn't do it just when Trent went down," he said. "I think this team for the last couple weeks, even though we haven't always had the results go our way, has really been doing a great job of coming together. I loved the way they talk to each other and help each other. We're in the process right now of really becoming a team, win, lose or draw."
According to Sendek, the X-rays of Lockett's right ankle were negative.
"There's good swelling in it right now, so he'll have to be reassessed this week," Sendek said.
Lockett injured the ankle on an offensive possession underneath the basket. He was helped off the court by the trainer and teammates and was taken to the locker room in a wheelchair.
ASU did a better job Saturday night sharing the ball, accounting for a total of 22 assists. Lockett and Colvin combined for 13 assists and four turnovers.
"Guys are understanding what this team right now has to do to have a chance to be competitive," Sendek said. "I think right now we're at a place where we don't have any selfishness."
A blemish on the night, however, was the 21 turnovers the Sun Devils committed against Oregon State, one shy of a Sendek-era record at ASU.