Devils Down Cal on the Road in Double OT

Known for it stingiest defense, ASU gave up an uncharacteristic 81 points in 40 minutes. Yet more importantly, the Sun Devil offense was also out of character. The maroon and gold poured in 14 points in the second overtime en route to 99-90 win. ASU remains unbeaten in Pac-10 play winning their 10th game in a row.

Arizona State (14-2, 4-0 Pac-10) was seeking to make a statement and prove that they can sustain their high level of play away from the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Arena. They stood toe-to-toe with Cal (11-5, 2-3) in the first half, holding the lead at various junctures of the first stanza and as late as 6:03 remaining in the period when Jeff Pendergraph's basket made it 29-27.

ASU scored just three points in the next five plus minutes, until Ty Abbott, in one of his few game changing shots of the night, converted behind the arc and the hosts were leading just 38-35 at the half.

Another game, another second half outburst by James Harden. The team's leading scorer who registered just two points in the first half, had ten in the first nine minutes of the period, as did Jeff Pendergraph and the visitors were ahead 63-58 at the 11:15 mark. Eventually that would be their biggest margin of a lead until the second overtime.

The Bears rebounded from their slow start of the second half, and had a 78-73 edge with just over three minutes to go in regulation. ASU's defense made sure that Cal wasn't going to seal the deal down the stretch, and held the Bears to just three made free throws the rest of the way. On the other hand, three-point shots by Harden and Abbott, the later tying the game with ten seconds left, sent the game into its first extra frame.

Both teams struggled in the first overtime, scoring four points each. Once again Abbott comes to the rescue with a long range basket that ties the score at 85 apiece with just under a minute and half left.

In the second overtime, the offensive woes were exclusive to Cal. Abbott's back-to-back three-pointers put ASU ahead 95-88 with 1:50 to go in the period, and help secure the Devils' first road league victory of the season, and the fourth consecutive road victory at Berkeley.

Harden paced ASU with 27 points. Pendergraph had 26 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. Abbott was 7-16 behind the arc and tallied 25 points. He tied Jerren Shipp for a team-high in rebounds (nine) as well as matched teammates Jamelle McMillan and Derek Glasser chipping in with five assists. Cal's Ryan Anderson was the high scorer on the floor with 32, but had just three points in the two extra sessions on Thursday night.

ASU didn't yield to the physically superior Bears and won the battle on the glass 36-28. They survived a terrible night at the charity stripe 12-22 with a hot shooting from the field – 57.6%. Both teams had 11 turnovers apiece.

Coming into the Bay Area road trip, even the most optimistic Sun Devil follower would consider a split a rousing success. However, even though that goal has been achieved now, there's no doubt that Herb Sendek's team is aiming to continue and turn heads and aim for a win against Stanford. The Cardinal were in involved in a thrilling win themselves, beating Arizona 56-52.

There's no arguing that ASU will come into Saturday's night contest (tip-off is at 8:00 pm MT), with tired legs. Nonetheless, if their current abundance of confidence and resiliency shows up at Maples Pavilion, as it did against the Golden Bears on Thursday, then a successful road trip may just turn into a positively shocking expedition in Northern California.

A tall order indeed, but not a task that is impossible for this tough Sun Devil squad to accomplish.

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