Sun Devils Rout Red Flash

The game against St. Francis' (PA) on Saturday afternoon was ultimately just what the doctor ordered before Pac-10 play begins. The lopsided and well rounded 95-56 ASU victory gave a Sun Devil team, which didn't play well in its last two non-conference outings, a good dose of confidence going into league play in less than a week.

"We came back from Christmas, we spend almost all of our time working on our defense and our offense plays great," quipped Head Coach Herb Sendek. "I thought our guys played a really good game today. Offensively we were really sharp. Our numbers are remarkable (72.1% from the field)…defensively we did a much better job of covering today. We were not at pleased with our defense the last two games, and today we were much better."

Arizona State (10-2) had little trouble with St. Francis' (PA) (3-9) zone defense. A couple of three pointers by Ty Abbott and the scoreboard already showed 15-2 at the 15:33 mark of the first half, as the Red Flash's head coach cannot wait for the official time out and stops play.

Things only got worse for the visitors from there on out. The Sun Devil defense limited the Red Flash to 34.3% shooting in the half, as the maroon and gold offense remained torrid. A fast break dunk by Jeff Pendergraph made it a 42-17 game with 4:46 left in the period, as ASU cruised to a 51-27 halftime lead.

Three-point baskets by Abbott and Glasser started out the second half, and ASU's lead was an even 30 points, 63-33, at the 15:45 mark. Rihards Kuksiks enters the game and quickly drains a three to give ASU a 75-38 lead at the halftime mark of the second stanza. Pendergraph picked up his third foul a few minutes earlier than that, and Eric Boateng in relief scored 12 points, with his eighth point giving the hosts an 81-41 edge at the 7:40 mark. It was nothing but smooth sailing until the final buzzer for ASU's highest scoring game in nearly four years (a 100-85 win over USC on Jan. 17th 2004).

Harden, who was 6-7 from the field, led five Sun Devils in double digit scoring with 21 points, and tied a team-high with five assists. Including this game he's shooting 57.1% from the field. Pendergraph and Abbott (5-8 from three-point range) had 19 apiece, and Boateng scored all of his career-high dozen points in the second half. Derek Glasser rounded out the quintet of double digit scorers with 11 points and was a surprise team co-leader on the boards, along with Boateng, hauling six rebounds.

ASU shot 72.1% from the field, and 73.3% from behind the arc. The Devils had a 29-22 edge on the glass, but gave up 13 offensive rebounds. ASU had five blocks on Saturday afternoon and committed 11 turnovers.

So are the maroon and gold, based on their non-conference play, ready for to tangle with their Pac-10 foes next week? "I think it's just too early to tell," said Sendek. "If you have us a grade, I would it's an ‘I' (incomplete). We played some really good games – LSU, Xavier are great wins…we've had some tough days like Illinois and Nebraska. We won some games where we didn't play well like Montana State and Idaho….the one thing about conference play – it's a gauntlet. It's ten straight games against really good teams."

"It's unforgiving. There's no easy way to get well. You have to earn everything you get in this league…"

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