ASU Washes Away Florida Gulf Coast

Another non-conference game, another 30 plus point blowout win. Not since December of 1990 have the Sun Devils routed opponents back-to-back in such resounding fashion. The way the 2007-08 maroon and gold version is playing, routs such as Wednesday's night 91-59 victory, may come more often than before during non-conference play.

"I thought our team did a good job all in all and really came ready to play," said ASU Head Coach Herb Sendek. "They were really ready to play in the beginning. We shot the ball well ourselves and continued to play very unselfishly. I thought it was a good win for us."

James Harden scored seven points in the first four minutes of the contest as Arizona State (4-1) jumped to a 17-3 lead over Florida Gulf Coast (2-5). At the 12:45 mark Christian Polk's three pointer put the maroon and gold up by 20, 26-6, while ASU's suffocating zone defense did its usual damage. Things started to get ugly for the visitors from Fort Meyers, as Harden's three-point play put his team ahead, 37-8, with 7:53 left in the half.

OK, maybe things got really ugly when Jerren Ship's shot behind the arc made it 45-8 with 5:23 left to go in the half. Nonetheless, the Eagles went on an 18-9 run to bring down the deficit, as the half ended with a score of 54-26. ASU shot at a 59.4% clip in this half.

It was the most points the Devils scored in a half, since a USC home victory on February 18th, 2003, when ASU led 58-30 after twenty minutes.

ASU started the second stanza with more hot shooting from downtown, and Jamelle McMillan started the onslaught with a long range basket of his own, and the lead grew to 70-34 at the 15:31 mark. Harden brought down the house with a sky-high alley hoop to push the lead to 82-42 with 9:12 left in the game. The Eagles' proficiency in burring the three-point shot was able to trim the margin of defeat to some extent. In fact, the visitors were only outscored 37-33 by ASU in the second half. Obviously, it was too little too late as ASU cruised to a 91-59 win.

"They're a lot more offensive weapons his year," said Polk when asked to compare this year's team to last year's. "We have a lot more offensive firepower. Not to bag on last year – I think we did a lot of good things last year that set the tone for his year…we have a lot better shooters and I think we're real deep. That's the difference this year."

Harden paced all players on the floor with 22 points and 8-9 shooting from the field. Polk and Ty Abbott had 15 points each, while Pendergraph chipped in with 10. Harden and Shipp tied for a team-high with six rebounds each. McMillan and Derek Glasser had five assists apiece. ASU had a 37-33 edge on the glass and forced many of the Eagles' 24 turnovers. Valley product Robert Quaintance led the visitors with 16 points, who as a team made 13-28 shots beyond the arc.

Next up for the Sun Devils is one of their stiffest non-conference tests of the year, a road game at Nebraska (4-1) on Sunday. "It will be a great test for us," Sendek commented. "Maui was really good, but those games were on a neutral site. Now we go to Devaney Court, a great place. Nebraska has an excellent team and it will be our first true road test of the year. For many of our guys, their first (college) road game ever."

Sendek is pleased with his team's attitude and the delicate balance they possess in terms of their psyche. "This team has confidence, but I also say this often about them – they posses humility. If you have one without the other, trying to do what we're doing – It's challenging," he explained. "You gotta have self esteem, you gotta feel good about yourself to perform…but as the same time, if that confidence ever trespasses into cockiness and you lose humility, you stop learning and improving…we have a nice balance. I'm sure as the long season goes along; they'll be more tests to really make up dig deep into those two areas."

Tip-off for the Nebraska contest is Sunday at Noon MT and will broadcasted on ESPNU and KTAR 620 AM.

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