Devils Carve up the 49ers

On a Thanksgiving night where James Harden was struggling from the field, the Sun Devils were grateful for Jeff Pendergraph ending his slump. The senior center paced the maroon and gold with a season-high 23 points as ASU routed Charlotte 84-56 in the opening round of the 76 Classic at Anaheim.

It was another defensive clinic by Arizona State (4-0) who held Charlotte (1-4) without a field goal for nearly the first seven minutes of the game. The first period was marred by turnovers by both teams, but it seemed as if the Sun Devils were more opportunistic with their opponent's mishaps.

At the 10:54 mark ASU was already scoring 10 points off of seven Charlotte turnovers to take a 13-7 lead. Harden was still scoreless when he picked up his second foul and sat down a minute later. However, Pendergraph led the offensive charge tonight and following a three-point play he gave the Devils their first double digit lead, 19-9, with 8:23 left in the half.

ASU struggled to secure rebounds on defense, but that deficiency didn't prevent them from going down the locker room with a 35-23 edge.

In the second half the 49ers found more success offensively and were able to cut down the deficit to six points. Nonetheless, they continued to turn over the ball which allowed the Sun Devils to pad their lead to 50-39 at the 11:38 mark.

Harden made all of his 11 free throw shots in the second stanza and helped ASU open a 20-point lead, 61-41, with 9:06 left in the contest. Three point shots by Jamelle McMillan and Rihards Kuksiks padded their team's margin en route to a convincing victory.

Aside from Pendergraph, three other ASU players scored in double figures: Harden (15 points), Ty Abbot (14), and Jerren Shipp off the bench with 10 points. Pendergraph had a team high 10 rebounds, but as a team ASU gave up 19 offensive rebounds and allowed Charlotte to control the boards 33-26.

The Devils forced 21 turnovers, but committed 20 of their own. They did make 50% of their shots from behind the arc and 83.9% from the charity stripe.

On Friday night, ASU will play Baylor in the second round of this tournament. Tip-off is scheduled for 10:30 pm MT.

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