Devils impressive in last non-conference game

Time will tell if the momentum of an 11-1 out of conference record will carry into Pac-10 play. Yet, there's no denying that the Sun Devils' last two outings exhibited exceptional shooting, unselfish play and the usual dose of tough defense. On Monday night in front of 8,512 at Wells Fargo arena ASU cruised to an 84-47 win over Central Connecticut State.

Arizona State (11-1) shot 79.2% from the field in the first half and 65.3% for the entire game. 23 of their 32 field goals came via assists, and they held Central Connecticut State (5-6) to 36.2% shooting.

"I was especially pleased with our play in the first half," said head coach Herb Sendek. "I really liked the fact that once again we had a high number of assists…I think that really reflects that our guys are really playing unselfishly. When you watch them you kind of get the sense that they like each other."

James Harden paced all players with 24 points and six assists.

"It starts with James," noted Sendek. "He's always so unselfish setting guys up. You gotta love the fact that he has six assists, Jamelle (McMillan) has five and Derek (Glasser) has four leading us eventually to those 23 assists."

Sendek acknowledged that the team's 19 turnovers (seven of them by Harden) "do stick out like a sore thumb", but again the Sun Devil skipper was very pleased with the victory over a Blue Devils tea that Sendek noted that "had our full attention and respect."

In the first half the maroon and gold successfully converted 19 of their first 22 shots, but it wasn't all from long range as the Sun Devils scored 24 of their 49 points in the paint, and led by 27 points at the half.

In the second stanza, ASU committed 12 turnovers, and scored just ten points in the last ten minutes of the contest. Sendek didn't attribute his squad's performance in the last twenty minutes to an expected letdown after a torrid first half.

"We did do some good things in the second half," stated Sendek. "But we didn't play as well as we wanted to for a stretch. I can't let our guys buy into the notion that it was because of human nature."

All of ASU's starters were in double figures. Ty Abbott contributed 15 points; Jeff Pendergraph had 10 of his 14 points in the first half and was a perfect 6-6 from the field. Rihards Kuksiks, suffering from a flu like virus, was also perfect in his shooting and made all three of his shots beyond the arc adding 11 points. Derek Glasser was the fifth player scoring in the double digits with ten.

Central Connecticut State didn't have many chances at defensive caroms, but nonetheless was outrebounded 36-13, with reserve Eric Boateng grabbing six boards.

In the last two games, ASU has outscored its opponents 174-102, and Sendek isn't only content with the results, but also with the manner in which these victories are achieved.

"We've played better together the last two games," said Sendek. "It's been fun basketball to watch. It's been unselfish good basketball to watch. So from that standpoint it's a very positive note."

In light of the positive recent play, how does Sendek assess his team's readiness for the conference portion which starts this weekend in the Bay Area?

"I feel like we've done some good things," he said, "but in a sense we have a whole new season. There's nothing that you carry over. We have a very tough first draw. Stanford is likely to be undefeated going into our game…so they're obviously playing very well.

"We have our hands full this weekend."


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