ANCHORAGE — Arizona State guard Trent Lockett scored 24 points, including the game-winning basket with 8.9 seconds left, to lift the Sun Devils into the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout championship game with a 59-58 victory over Weber State on Friday night at Sullivan Arena.
The Sun Devils (3-1) also got 16 points, four assists and four steals from guard Jamelle McMillan and shot 45 percent from 3-point range to prevail in one of the most competitive semifinals in the storied tournament's 33-year history.
The Wildcats (2-3) were led by reserve guard Scott Bamforth, who scored 15 points, but the two-time defending Big Sky Conference champs were hurt by 34 percent shooting, while allowing the Sun Devils to shoot 49 percent.
In a game that featured 13 ties and nine lead changes, neither team managed more than a six-point advantage, which came with 6:36 remaining when McMillan nailed his team's final 3-pointer to make it 54-48.
But the Sun Devils saw their lead trimmed to 57-56 at the 3:16 mark by four straight points from WSU guard Damian Lillard, and neither team would score for the next three minutes.
After a missed jumper by Lockett, Lillard took Darin Mahoney's outlet pass and raced downcourt, drawing a foul from ASU's Rihards Kuksiks. The reigning Big Sky Player of the Year coolly knocked down both shots with 16 seconds remaining to put WSU ahead 58-57.
Following a timeout, Lockett, who went 9-of-12 from the field, took a pass from Ty Abbott and drove the lane, banking the ball softly off the glass while drawing a foul from Mahoney. Lockett's free throw bounced high off the iron, however, and landed in the hands of Bamforth, who immediately found Lillard. Lillard pulled up for a long 3-pointer in transition that caromed high off the back of the rim, and the rebound was grabbed by ASU's Kyle Cain as time expired.
Lillard finished with 12 points on 8-of-8 free-throw shooting, but struggled to just 2-of-17 from the field, including 0-for-8 from 3-point land.
Weber State was hurt by the loss of guard Lindsey Hughey, who left the game in the second half with a leg injury after tallying 13 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Kuksiks had 11 points and two assists and Abbott dished four assists to lead ASU into its first-ever Shootout title game. The Sun Devils will play St. John's – an 83-39 winner over Drake in the first semi ?— at 8 p.m. AST today for the championship. Weber State will face Drake for third place at 5:30 p.m.
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