How Sweep It Is!

TUCSON - You could see it in his eyes the minute he took the court. ASU's Jeff Pendergraph was fired up and ready to play. There was no need for extra motivation in this one, there was enough from the way ASU was beat in his first two seasons here. Pendergraph bottled up that emotion and turned it into a career-high 29 points to lead Arizona State to a 59-54 win over Arizona.

The win, witnessed by 14,598 at the McKale Center, also marked the first season sweep of the Arizona Wildcats since the 1994-95 season.

"I was in the mindset that we just weren't going to lose," said Pendergraph, "I kept telling my teammates that we weren't going to lose. I said it all the time. I said it everywhere. They probably heard me saying last night in their dreams."

"We have always been on the wrong side of these sweeps."

The Devils needed the dominating performance from Pendergraph, because freshman star James Harden didn't start, and was limited due to a flu bug. On the other hand, Arizona's freshman star Jerryd Bayless was healthy and out for revenge. Bayless missed the two teams' first meeting due to knee injury.

Bayless hit his first seven shots, including four from downtown, and just like that Arizona rattled off a 17-2 run and the Devils were behind 22-6. Bayless was picking apart an ASU team that seemed complacent just to sit back in its zone and let the freshman from Phoenix St. Mary's shoot. It seemed only a matter of time before this game turned into a mirror image of the lopsided loss to UCLA last week. But Jeff Pendergraph prevented a similar outcome.

Pendergraph started to take over when UA's Jordan Hill picked up his second foul less than six minutes into the first half. With Hill on the bench, Pendergraph scored 12 points to fuel a 19-4 run to cut the Wildcat lead to just one at the break.

The Devils repeatedly just lobbed the ball inside to Pendergraph, as Arizona was fronting the post. The lobs wouldn't have worked without the play of Derek Glasser. Glasser finished with eight assists and was phenomenal on the lob pass all day.

Fittingly the second half started for ASU with a jump shot by Pendergraph. It was ASU's first lead of the game. The Devils kept building their lead and stretched it to 13 with 6:23 to play. The Wildcats later went on an 8-0 run to cut the Devils lead to six, but after a turnover by the Devils and an offensive foul on Bayless, Jamelle McMillan hit the biggest shot of the night. McMillan drove to the hole and hit a running layup falling into the first row, to push ASU's lead back to eight. Bayless wouldn't let his team go away. He hit a three and a layup with 1:20 to play to cut the ASU lead to three. His three point attempt to tie at the end was way off, and Jerren Shipp grabbed the rebound and hit his two free throws to seal the deal for ASU.

"We just gave in," Arizona interim coach Kevin O'Neill said.

"It hurts,'' said Arizona Forward Chase Budinger, who went just 1 for 12 from the floor and scored only four points. "We don't feel good about it."

"Everything I put up just didn't fall," said Budinger, who said that a cut on his right index finger didn't affect his shot. "I felt kind of funny in warm-ups. But some of the shots felt good, like they were going in. They'd just pop out. That was the most frustrating thing … that when you take shots and they go in and come out."

While the Sun Devils seemed like a one-man show, the Wildcats were even more so. The Wildcats had 15 made field goals, 12 of them by Bayless.

"You're not going to win many games like that,'' O'Neill said.

The win pushes Arizona State back into the middle of the pack in the Pac 10. They now face a tough challenge on Thursday, when they welcome co-Pac 10 leaders Stanford into Tempe.

"We're happy to win here today," said Derek Glasser, "But we have a very good team coming in Thursday, and we have to be ready."

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