#11 ASU 70, Arizona 68 - BIG WIN @ home

Whew. That is what they call an ol' fashioned barn burner. Heh.

So lets get the negatives out of the way:

  • We lost out identity right at about the 10 minute mark in the second half. Up to that point we had been running through James Harden and allowing the secondary players, Kuksiks, McMillan, Glasser, Pendergraph, to find their spots. Instead the other guys started getting a little too confident, shots stopped falling, we lost our momentum, and James Harden got lost in the mix. I think this team needs the ball in Harden's hands at the ends of games, no matter if we are up by 14 or tied.
  • Ty Abbott's Offense - Abbott started, played 22 minutes and had 0 points. He was 0-2 but chipped in 3 steals, 3 rebounds and 5 assists/2 turnovers. You gotta score Ty. You are shooting 23% on threes. Maybe you should stop shooting so many of them. Take it to the rim a little bit. Remember when you used to do that? Good times.
  • TURNOVERS! What happened? I know Arizona is quick, but we had 16 turnovers. Every guy who played had 2 except Harden who had 5, and McMillan who had 1.
  • Last 10 minute defense. We held them down all game then got a little too confident, a little lazy, and started letting up some threes we really should not have. Got a little slow on our rotations. Need to not let that happen. Need to put teams away. Maybe play a little more aggressive instead of simply trying to run the clock down.

ok. Now on to the good things.

  • we won.
  • Pendergraph - I am glad Pendergraph has become less reliant on his mid range jumper. He was attacking the hoop, getting to the line, and played excellent defense on Jordan Hill. Last year Pendergraph would have fouled out with 12 minutes left to play. This year he played all 40 minutes, put up 16 points, 12 boards and 3 blocks. AWESOME game.
  • Kuksiks - This is what we like to see. Kuksiks got into a bit of foul trouble since he has poor lateral movement on defense, but he was 5-10 for 3s and scored 17 points. A bunch of huge, clutch threes. ESPN quotes Kuksiks...
  • "They left me open," said Kuksiks, a sophomore from Latvia who shoots 42.4 percent from beyond the arc. "I did what I've got to do."
  • Actually he shoots 47.6% from beyond the arc. But yeah.
  • Glassman - His stats do not jump out at you, but he played a fantastic, tough game and was the definition of clutch.
  • Harden - I would have liked to see him take the game over when Arizona started going on their run but he was good. 18 points, 9 rebounds.
  • Like I told Joe over at the U of A site, we were going to shoot better than last time and we did. 53% from the field, 43% from three.
  • McMillan - he had three massive threes in a row. But is there a player in the nation more reliant on confidence? Once he misses a shot - that is it, he seems to lose confidence in himself and starts to miss. Either way, good game.

Some other good quotes.

"You can't be closer than(sic) a half a game," said ASU forward Jeff Pendergraph, who had 16 points and 12 rebounds and hit the decisive free throws with 25 seconds left for the Sun Devils. "It feels good to be at the top instead of the bottom. But it's not done yet. This wasn't our last game."

"I find joy in the moment," Sendek said. "I'm exhilarated by what just happened. But I'm also realistic enough, I think, to realize that this game and the previous three could have easily gone the other way. We'd be sitting here -- 'We haven't beat them for the last four, what's the matter, you stink.' It's that close."

On Kuksiks - "If he's open, we want him to take the shot," Sendek said. "Usually we don't have to twist his arm to do that." "Those two shots he made at the end were lifesavers for us," Sendek said.

"I got fouled on that play," Hill said. "I got really pushed on that play."

So a little complaining by Hill at the end. I could see that, but the refs were letting the guys play rough down low all game. Budinger slammed an elbow down on Glasser's head - extremely immature and dangerous considering Glasser is fresh off a concussion and has a history of them. So - karma? Either way.

Good game, we are @ #21 Washington on Thursday in Seattle and @ Washington State on Saturday.

Box score after the jump.

Box Score

1 2 T

UA (18-9) 34 34 68
#11 ASU (21-5) 44 26 70

Final

10:00 PM ET, February 22, 2009
Wells-Fargo Arena
Tempe, AZ

ARIZONA WILDCATS
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Chase Budinger, F 40 5-16 1-5 2-4 3 9 6 4 0 1 1 13
Jordan Hill, F 40 7-14 0-0 0-0 2 5 2 1 1 1 3 14
Zane Johnson, G 21 2-5 1-3 0-0 1 1 0 0 0 1 2 5
Nic Wise, G 40 5-14 3-6 4-4 1 3 7 3 0 3 1 17
Kyle Fogg, G 30 4-8 3-5 3-4 2 4 1 3 0 1 1 14
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Brendon Lavender, G 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jamelle Horne, F 24 2-4 1-2 0-0 1 5 0 0 0 0 4 5
TOTALS
FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS

25-61 9-21 9-12 10 27 16 11 1 7 12 68

41.0% 42.9% 75.0%
ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Jeff Pendergraph, F 40 4-5 0-0 8-10 3 12 0 0 3 2 3 16
Rihards Kuksiks, G-F 30 6-12 5-10 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 2 4 17
Ty Abbott, G 22 0-2 0-2 0-0 0 3 5 3 0 2 1 0
Derek Glasser, G 37 3-5 2-4 0-1 0 2 3 0 0 2 3 8
James Harden, G 40 7-12 3-6 1-1 2 9 5 1 1 5 1 18
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Jamelle McMillan, G 21 3-7 3-7 0-0 0 1 3 0 0 1 3 9
Jerren Shipp, G 10 1-2 0-1 0-0 0 1 2 0 0 2 0 2
TOTALS
FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS

24-45 13-30 9-12 5 30 20 5 4 16 15 70

53.3% 43.3% 75.0%
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