Devils Persevere in Precious Road Win

ASU's struggles in non-conference road games are well documented. So even if their 59-52 win against San Diego State was anything but a thing of beauty, it will still put a lot of smiles on their faces. It was ASU's first non-conference road game win this decade, and a victory that perhaps sends a message to itself that it is ready to turn the corner and live up to pre-season expectations.

The course of the game's first twelve minutes indicated that Tuesday night could be another exercise in futility for Arizona State (2-0) on the road. The Devils' first basket came at the 16:50 mark and its first rebound was registered over two a half minutes later.

San Diego State (1-1) took full advantage of the visitors' struggles, and thanks to a couple of three pointers by Kyle Spain, jumped to an improbable 15-2 lead with 12:46 remaining in the game.

James Harden, who missed Monday's practice with flu like symptoms and spent much of Tuesday in bed trying to mend himself, was able to prevent the Aztecs from running away with the game and his lay-up at the 8:42 mark brought down the deficit to 19-10.

Seven points by Ty Abbott engineered an 11-0 run to tie the game at 19-19 at the 3:42 mark, and had the hosts go down to the locker room with a modest 24-23 edge.

Jeff Pendergraph, who was in foul trouble for long stretches of the contest, gave the Sun Devils their first lead of the game, 25-24, with less than a minute gone by in the second stanza. That advantage was short lived, as Harden is called for a technical foul which aided the Aztecs in a 9-0 run and a 33-25 lead at the 15:49 mark.

Two consecutive dunks by Harden gave his the team the lead back, 37-36, with 9:37 left in the game. ASU was able to reclaim the lead for good when a barrage of shots behind the arc, two by Rihards Kuksiks and one by Harden, gave the visitors a 52-44 edge. During that run both Harden and Pendergraph picked up their fourth fouls, but were careful to never foul out.

SDSU sent Arizona State repeatedly to the line in hopes of reversing its fortunes, but 9-12 shooting from the charity stripe sealed the deal for the visitors and proved to anyone watching that this group is mature and capable of overcoming adversity.

Harden paced all players on the floor with 18 points. Abbott chipped in with 13, but his defense was probably even more impressive, He grabbed a few key rebounds in the waning moments of the game (a part of his game high eight rebounds) and registered two blocks. Kuksiks was the only other Sun Devil in double figures with ten points. Derek Glasser, who started for ASU, led all players with five assists. All of the junior's even points came by the way of free throws which sealed the deal for the maroon and gold tonight.

ASU shots at a torrid 57.1% and held the hosts to 35.3% from the field. They did lose the rebound battle 26-23, and gave up 13 offensive rebounds. Spain led SDSU with 17 points.

Up next for the Sun Devils is a home meeting on Sunday the 23rd against Pepperdine. Tip-off is at 2 pm.


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