Devils Down Beavers, Earn 1st Pac-10 Home Win

The gray skies in Tempe weren't able to produce any precipitation on Thursday, thus extending the streak of rainless days to over 100. Inside Wells Fargo Arena, ASU's drought of conference wins at home came to an end as the maroon and gold dominated the visitors from Corvallis 76-59.

he first few minutes of the contest proved to be much closer than the rest of it. Arizona State (9-12, 3-9) thanks to two Kevin Kruger three pointers had a 15-10 lead at the 14:17 mark of the first quarter. Oregon State (10-13, 3-9) behind the sharp-shooting of Sasa Cuic claimed the lead 18-17 just moments later. Serge Angounou gave the home team a 19-18 edge with 10:57 remaining in the half and Sun devils never looked back. The Beavers came close to tying the game, when they brought it down to a two-point margin, 27-25 at the 4:49 mark. However, Antwi Atuahene, who didn't start due to disciplinary reasons, made sure that his team would have a comfortable 38-29 lead at halftime.

Matters only got worse for Oregon State in the last twenty minutes of the game. Back-to-back three pointers by Kruger gave the Devils a 57-40 lead at the 12:13 mark, and the visitors did very little to put a dent in that margin. A nifty behind the back pass by Kruger left Atuahene alone for a lay-up to put ASU ahead 72-54 with 3:50 left in the game. That basket earned a standing ovation which was followed by an exodus of Sun Devil fans, who for a change left the game with a smile of their face.

Jeff Pendergraph scored 16 points in the second half and paced his team with 18 points and a game-high 11 boards. Kruger tied a personal high with five baskets beyond the arc, as he finished the game with 17. Bryson Kruger chipped in with 14, and Sylvester Seay rounded out the double figure scoring Devils with ten, to go along with his three blocks. Atuahene had an impressive stat line with nine points, seven boards and seven assists. The maroon and gold converted a season-high nine three pointers (on 52.9% shooting) and committed a season-low eight turnovers. Oregon State's Cuic had a game-high 23 points.

"I thought that our basketball team tonight gave a supreme effort on both ends of the court," said Head coach Rob Evans. "It's indicative in the 37 percent that Oregon State shot. We talked at the half making sure that we came out and not have a lull and be aggressive. We executed and did a great job of that." In regards to the performance of Pendergraph, Evans remarked: "I'm hard pressed to find a freshman that's playing better than him now. He's just unbelievable."

When asked why he only played seven players on Thursday night, Evans replied: "I think it just called for it tonight. We were one man short because Tyrone wasn't available, for the simple reason that he has some things to take care of. He has to take care of them before Saturday or he won't play then either. If we felt like we had to go deeper, I have a lot of confidence in Chad Goldstein and Bruno Claudino. I just thought that tonight we had a pretty good flow going." Evans added that Kruger hasn't undergone an operation yet to remove his wisdom teeth, but will do so on Sunday. In the meantime, he hasn't eaten any solid foods for over a week now. "When he starts feeling better, we're not gonna feed him much," Evans quipped. "What a warrior. He's just playing on heart and guts."

Next for the Sun Devils are the Oregon Ducks, who will visit Tempe with a 6:00 PM tip-off on Saturday.

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