Bears Hand Devils First Season Loss

ASU's staple this season has been an effective defense, and conversely struggling to the win the rebound battle. On Friday night, the Sun Devils controlled the boards, but their defense fell prey to a sharp shooting Baylor team. The Bears cashed in 11 times beyond the arc and shot at an overall 51% clip, as they downed the maroon and gold 87-78 in the semifinals of the 76 Anaheim Classic.

James Harden was one point shy of his career high scoring 32 points, 27 of them in the second half. He also grabbed nine rebounds and had three steals. Jeff Pendergraph missed just one field goal and was a perfect 7-7 from the charity stripe, as he chipped in with a double double of 19 points and ten boards. Rihards Kuksiks was the only other Sun Devil in double figures with ten points.

Both teams exchanged leads a few times during the first half. A three-point basket by Derek Glasser made it 20-16 in favor of ASU with 9:03 left in the first half. Seven points from Pendergraph later in the opening stanza helped the Sun Devils to hold off the Bears' offense just enough to enter halftime with a 31-31 score.

After tying Baylor at 34 apiece, ASU saw the Bears go on a 19-4 run to go up 53-38 at the 14:17 mark of the second half. A trio of consecutive three-point shots brought ASU as close as five points, 80-75, with 1:10 left in the contest. However, the Bears converted 7-8 free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.

ASU edged Baylor in rebounds 33-25 and nine caroms on the offensive end. The Devils committed 14 turnovers, and forced Baylor to only eight. The Bears also had 18 assists to ASU's 12. LaceDarius Dunn paced Baylor with 27 points, including 6-12 from three-point territory.

Next for ASU is a match up with UTEP in the final day of the 76 Anaheim Classic on Sunday.

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