ASU drops 11th straight to Huskies

Arizona State junior, Jeff Pendergraph, and head coach Herb Sendek, were visibly disappointed after the 72-61 loss to Washington Thursday night in Tempe.

"Playing against them is very frustrating," said Pendergraph about Washington's physical style. Pendergraph knows that first hand after trying to deal with the Huskies Jon Brockman on Thursday night. Brockman, who is listed as 6-7 and 255, looks as if he would be more at home in a crowd of NFL tight ends instead of a wood floor. He had 16 rebounds 21 points.

"If he was 5-11 and weighed 150 pounds I still think he would be how he is," Pendergraph said. "It is just a mentality that he has." Pendergraph sounded beaten after the game, one that the Sun Devils were hoping to win considering their tough schedule ahead.

"Some things you can never change about people no matter how much scouting you do or how much preparation you do," Pendergraph added. "Sometimes guys are going to do what they do just because they have it in their head that nobody is going to stop them." Considering how well Pendergraph got to know big Jon Brockman tonight, I think that's a fair assessment.

Overall ASU brought a decent level of intensity and speed to their game but couldn't finish the buckets. They went 22 for 30 at the line, had nine steals, two blocks, and 38 boards. But none of that matters when you only shoot 32 percent.

"It was a bunch of things," Pendergraph said about his team's shortcomings in the loss. "We will see tomorrow when we watch film. Even if it was a bunch of shots that we did not make, they didn't make a lot of shots either. It is just a matter of getting those loose balls and those offensive rebounds. You can't let somebody come in here and get 16 rebounds," he said referring to Brockman.

One excuse for ASU slow offense was the fact that freshman star James Harden was playing with a questionable bill of health. Even though doctors gave him the ok to dress, it was apparent that Harden was not playing full speed at times. "I don't know if he was tired, I think he leg was bothering him," said Pendergraph about Harden. "I don't think he was 100 percent coming into the game. I think he really wanted to play and try and help, but I think it was still messing with him throughout the whole game," he added. "And if you are hurt your leg is going to get tired. When you start to get tired that is when you get injured, so I think he was a little worried."

Coach Herb Sendek was clearly upset by the night's events but still managed to keep a positive attitude towards his young team. "We just have to continue to keep working and trying to improve," he said after the game. "Obviously we play an outstanding opponent every night and we're going to have to play at our very best at any time to get wings in this conference." ASU's next three opponents, Washington State, UCLA, and USC are no exception to that rule.

Sendek stated that Harden's decision to play was decided earlier in the day after doctors said he was not at any risk of re injuring himself.

"I thought Washington did a really good job of disrupting us and taking us out of our offense," Sendek said. ASU, who only shot 32 percent from the floor, had the lead until 5:38 in the first half when Brockman made a lay-up to give the Huskies a two point lead. They never regained that momentum and trailed the rest of the game. They came close with a little less than four minutes to play in the second half before Ryan Appleby drilled a three pointer, his second of the night.

"We never want to forget (tonight), that would be foolish. We want to learn and we have to get ready for another terrific basketball team on Saturday," said Sendek of the immediate future for his team. "Our guys are understanding that the constant level of excellence that you have to be at to be competitive in this league. You don't have room; we don't have room, to be less than your best at any moment in time right now."

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