Post-Game Quotes

Head coach Herb Sendek, Ty Abbott and James Harden comment on ASU's 80-64 win over Mississippi Valley State.

Sendek on opening game:

"Right now our minds are really focused on rebounding, on the fact that we were beat to too many loose balls. I thought Mississippi did a great job of scrapping. IN the second half we actually had more turnovers than we did deflections. That is disturbing from our point of view. They hit us between the eyes to start the second half with three straight three pointers, went on a nine-zero run and then also finished the game on an up tick against us. Two key spurts that we didn't cover very well. Obviously we yielded 41 points in the second half and gave up 50% field goal percentage, numbers that certainly aren't favorable to us. Suffice it to say we have a great deal of work to do and we'll continue to roll up our sleeves and try to get better."

Sendek on ball movement on offense, getting 24 assists and 26 made field goals:

"I thought James did a really good job of drawing two defenders a number of times. Did a real job when they put two (defenders) on him, when we ball screened and he found guys on the backside a number of times to account for ten of those assists. On the other hand I think we really held the ball too much. The ball didn't move freely. Everybody caught it and made sure it was orange, made sure it was a sphere, and then we passed it. Our offense is going to work better when we move the ball more freely and sharply. I thought we despite ample warning were really impatient to start the game. We were intent on trying to score on one or two passes and that's unusual when you can do that."

Harden on being more of a playmaker this year:

"I guess that's how I always am. I'm a playmaker. I get my teammates shots. I try to create for them as much as possible. Today I think I did an ok job of doing that. But just like he said our defensive end and rebounding needs to improve and I think it will."

Sendek on Harden on being more of a playmaker this year: "I think James has always displayed a real feel for the game and he most certainly is a very very unselfish player. He great thing about James is makes the right decisions. He shoots when he's supposed to shoot. He passes when he's supposed to pass. He doesn't pre-determine what he's going to do. He doesn't get bend out of shape if the defense takes him out of as lot of shots – on those occasions he makes sure his teammates are set. I think he has a remarkable basketball IQ. A great feel for the game, highlighted by his unselfishness."

Sendek on the big opening night crowd and the expectations on the team:

"Well we really haven't been here that long. Certainly I think it was our best opening crowd. There is a sense of excitement around the program and obviously James ahs a great deal to do with that. He's brought a lot to us. Jeff obviously coming back for his senior has helped bolster that. Our students have been really good. They deserve credit. They've taken over time a few rib shots but they're doing a good job for us. They were out in full force tonight. I love the fact they're wearing yellow, they're standing, they're getting a little more creative. We have to give our students a high five, we really do."

Harden on the big opening night crowd and the expectations on the team:

"There were a lot of people here. Even last year in our non-conference games there weren't that many people here. I don't know if it was the Women who played before us or having people excited to see us playing. We love the crowd, they help us a lot and hopefully it can be like that every single game."

Harden on his enjoyment playing the game:

"I'm back on the court playing against other people. I'm starting to pick up my leadership and we're coming together as a team. As I pick up my communication we become a better team. My energy level has to increase. My whole game has to step up."

Sendek on the sparse playing time that Pendergraph received:

"His leg was fine. He got into some foul trouble in the first half. We had a lead so I elected to safeguards going in to the second half. I think his leg is OK. He hasn't probably got the repetitions that he would ideally like to have in practice. He was out with a quad strain and then when he came back he fell and bruised his back. In fairness to Jeff, he hasn't been with us day in and day out in practice. He's getting better and is back at it obviously."

Sendek on Taylor Rhode:

"Taylor is making progress. He did a really god job taking the charge for us tonight. Taylor does a good job of creating action and has a good feel of how to play the game for a young guy."

Ty Abbott on the opening game:

"Overall I think it was alright. Obviously there is a lot of work to do. Got some kinks to get out in the offense and we have to rebound better than what we did. But you come out for the first game and kind of get the wrinkles out.

on the team's ball movement on offense:

"Moving the ball, nobody is selfish. We don't really care about who's getting the points. Obviously James was moving the ball and we're just looking for each other. Teams are going to key on him so much that he can be the playmaker and still get his shots off which makes it that much harder for teams to guard us.

on the new and further three-point shot line and how it may affected him

"Just gotta make shots. They'll start falling…" on how team held lead all game:

"It just came down to making adjustments and media timeouts and different timeouts we had. They started throwing some different things at us we haven't seen and we just made adjustments to be able stop the run really helped us a lot."

on continuity of offense this year compared to last:

"I think there is a big difference. Six, seven of us have been playing together for this whole last year and now we come out on the same page, want the same things, going towards the same goals."

on MSVU's early second half run:

"They came out on the run. We have to do better than that. We have to have better close outs. The defense really slacked off on the beginning of that second half."

on team's rebounding:

"They were just tougher than us. They just out scraped us. They were on all the loose balls. We just weren't physical enough."

On the team forcing 20 turnovers, 8 steals

"When we picked up the ball pressure, that's when things starting rolling for us. Those 20 turnovers came from the ball pressure we had, when we had it."

on James Harden's improvement:

"He can do so many different things now, there's no way you can really key on anything. Last year it was just his left hand and everybody would key on the left hand. Now he's going both ways. It's creating more lanes for everyone else. They (the defense) has to help different sides and you get guys open different ways."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories