Devils Cruise in Win Over Bears

Few expected this young Arizona State team turn any heads this year. However with Christian Polk at the helm, that might just change. The freshman's poise and confidence and team-high 22 points helped the Maroon and Gold cruise to an easy victory over Northern Colorado 66-51.

"I think form the day I met Christian he was confident. He's that type of young man…he exudes confidence," coach Herb Sendek said of Polk's play on Tuesday night. "Doing what he is doing, you have to believe in yourself. Great players have that good feeling about themselves, even if things don't go their way in a particular moment. "

The Devils started the game with the same starting line-up that appeared against their latest win over Iowa, and this line-up did not show any effects of a hangover. ASU raced out to an eight point lead, 16-8, six minutes into the game led by Polk's 10 points. ASU expanded their lead up to 15 points, yet a stingy defense by the Northern Colorado Bears cut their own deficit to nine points.

Nonetheless, as soon as the Bears showed signs of life and a comeback, the Devils went on a 14-point run before the end of the half due in part to some sub-par play by the Bears' offense. Northern Colorado ended ASU's run from a lay-up in the paint by center Kirk Archibeque who led his team with seven points. The Devils then closed the half on a 20-5 run and went down to the locker room with 20 point lead 43-23.

The Devils were almost automatic from the field in the first half shooting 50% behind the arc and 60% overall. Senior Serge Angounou who has started to come into his own, and shows no sign of any his previous injuries added a much needed spark and showed that he's a player who is willing to get down a dirty. Serge had three steals which contributed to the Devils' 23 points off of Bears turnovers.

With the way the Maroon and Gold shot the ball in the first half they appeared to show no signs of a let down after their big Iowa win. However, in the second half ASU came out cold and but were physical on defense, not allowing the Bears easy points in the paint and no fast break points. "It was a very physical game, there is no doubt about that, it was a physical basketball game," commented Sendek.

ASU never once let the Bears gain momentum, only allowing them to come within 21 points, with 10 minutes into the half. ASU then proceeded to exceed the foul limit with close to 8 minutes remaining. With the Bears in the bonus, the Devils calmed down and finished the half with some aggressive defense that included three blocks and two steals. With the game coming to an end the Bears staged a comeback, that was too little too late, closing the game with a 66-51 loss to ASU.

Christian Polk once again finished the game with a team high 22 points and 50% from the field. Serge Angounou added 12 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double. Jeff Pendergraph for the second straight game in a row added eight points and Antwi Atuahene closed the game with 10 rebounds and a team high four assists. Northern Colorado had no players in double figures but was led by Sean Taibi and Kirk Archibeque who both had 7 points each.

The team now has to prepare for its first away game of the season on December 2nd in Minnesota facing the Gophers. "We have to step up," said Polk. "I haven't been on a road trip but hopefully Antwi can help me out a little bit so we'll see how it is, and take care of business." Polk, an Arizona native, was a little leery about the road game in a cold weather. Atuahene, who hails from Toronto, countered "I like cold…you better bring three hoodies…"

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