Vikes Tip Devils At Home

Heading into this season it was wildly known that this young Sun Devil basketball team was going to have to be a scrappy squad that was going to win more thanks to their defensive intensity rather than their offensive prowess. Case in point, on an afternoon where the Sun Devils struggled on offense their defensive shortcomings allowed Portland State to come on top 71-67.

"I thought our defensive intensity was far less than what it needed to be when we started the basketball game," said head coach Herb Sendeck. "Our basketball team simply does not have that room for error. We need 40 minutes of relentless defense for every foul and every pass and every cut screen, we gave up 22 points in the first 8 minutes of the game from there we did settle down and dig in and played better defense especially in the second half, except for the fact that we did bail them out on far to many occasions with fouling."

The Devils committed 27 fouls in the game and sent the Vikings 36 times to the foul line. Even though they converted just 24 of those attempts the maroon and gold were not able to take advantage of that. A thin crowd due to the Ohio State-Michigan football game, which included the Sun Devils' prized recruit of the 2007 class James Harden, saw the Devils fall behind from the opening tip-off.

At the 11:55 mark of the first half the Vikings had a comfortable lead 22-9 edge. Freshman Christian Polk then knocked down two three pointers, but his team's rally was short lived as the Vikings continued to control the game. As halftime approached Jeff Pendergraph started to make his presence be felt, scoring 10 points in the first twenty minutes and exploding on a dunk which brought the Vikings lead down to 10, 45-35, at halftime.

ASU came out with a stronger defensive display in the second half, and actually held Portland State scoreless for the first two and a half minutes. However their offensive deficiencies, scoring at only a 35.5% clip, prevented them from closing the gap early during that time period. 15 of ASU's 27 personal fouls were committed in the last 20 minutes and bailed out the Vikings on many failed possessions of their own.

With 1:35 reaming the in the contest Serge Angounou was fouled on a three-point attempt. However, he only converted on two of three shot attempts and brought down the margin down to two 69-67. An ASU turnover followed by a Portland State turnover gave the Devils the ball with 27.1 seconds left. Nonetheless, ASU was not able to capitalize on that, losing their second game of the season.

Jeff Pendergraph led all players on the floor with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman Christian Polk had 20 points but was only 7-17 from the field. Jerren Shipp was the only other ASU player in double figures with 11. Antwi Atuahene had team high eight assists. ASU was edged 35-33 on the boards, and in a bizarre twist they had one more offensive rebound than defensive (17-16). Portland State senior Juma Kamara led the Vikings with 18 points.

"We're just not a good basketball team right now, there is no sense of pretending," stated Sendeck. "We have a lot of work to do and it's not going to happen over night. And what we want to do it get better every step of the way, focus on improvement and make sure were giving our best effort all the time. We did some good things execution wise, what happened with Jeff in the post, we executed for easy baskets in the second half, but in terms of where we are in the perspective of things were in the beginning stage."

ASU's will try to shake of this lost at they host San Jose State Tuesday at 7:30.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories