Devils Send Raiders Down the Plank

ASU forward Jeff Pendergraph said in the beginning of the season that "teams are not going to like to play us." Colgate found that out first hand on Tuesday night. The Sun Devils held the Raiders to 36 points, which are the fewest allowed by an Arizona State team since allowing 34 points in a victory over Washington (St. Louis) in 1949-50.

The Sun Devils (5-4) started the game with what appears to now be their most dominant line-up with Pendergraph, Christian Polk, Jerren Shipp, Antwi Atuahene and Serge Angounou. However, after watching their first half performance, one would question whether ASU has any dominant starter except for Serge Angounou.

"He's playing really hard and giving great effort," said head coach Herb Sendek about Angounou's play over the past few weeks. "He's shooting the basketball with great confidence. He's the one guy in the first half that did make a basket for us and we shutter to think where we would be without Serge."

Both the Devils and the Raiders (4-5) came out of the gate with high intensity, yet neither team could create any scoring opportunities. Both teams had a combined four turnovers and one foul a piece until Jerren Shipp hit a three point shot three minutes into the game, followed by another quick Serge Angounou three pointer. ASU seemed to be getting things together until Antwi Atuahene turned the ball over three times stopping any dominate performance by the hosts in the first half.

Half way through the first half the Maroon and Gold had only 11 points while Colgate closed the gap scoring eight. Enter Angounou, who connected on all his three point shot attempts to propel the Devils to a 9-0 run with five minutes remaining. However thanks to some stingy defense by the Pirates, the Devils saw their lead of 12 slip to 8 as the half closed at a 20-12 score. ASU appeared to be hesitant in driving to the basket in the first half but made it up by shooting 60% from the three point arc, and Pendergraph's nine rebounds in that period certainly aided the cause.

"We just stayed really positive," Sendek commented on his halftime speech. "We really enforced our game plan and we applauded the players for their defensive effort. We held Colgate to 12 points in the first half. They have some experienced plays and watching them on tape we were really respectful of their ability to score."

When the ASU retuned to the court in the second half, a much different team emerged from the Maroon and Gold bench. In the first half the Devils scored only three points in first seven minutes, but in the second half they had scored nine points in the same time frame.

After this the Devils raced out to a commanding 25-point lead, 39-14, 12 minutes into the game, and only allowing Colgate to score two points during this time. Another issue that plagued the team in the first half was not getting to the charity strip. Well, with patience and driving the ball to the basket ASU was able to put the Raiders away by finishing the game connecting on 12-19 from the free throw line. Colgate did their part in keeping things interesting as they closed ASU's lead to 11 with 4:33 remaining. Nonetheless, the Devils held their own and finished the game with a 16-point lead and a 52-36 victory.

Sendek acknowledged that it was huge that ASU won this game after they had lost the previous two contests to Minnesota and Xavier on the road. He quipped that he was disappointed in Pendergraph who was not able to fulfill his coach's request of collecting 20 rebounds. (Pendergraph finished with 19)

Serge Angounou finished the game leading all Sun Devils in scoring with 14 and connecting on 4-5 from behind the three point line. Jeff Pendergraph set a new career high for himself grabbing 19 rebounds, to along with his 10 points. Christian Polk had 10 points on the night as well. Phoenix native and Colgate guard Jon Simon lead all scores with 15 points.

ASU now has to prepare for the Sleep America ASU Hoops Classic with games on Thursday December 21 against North Carolina A&T at 7 p.m. and Friday December 22 against Davidson or Ohio at 2 p.m.

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